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LadyViolet's Moving on up to 75 books for 2010!

75 Books Challenge for 2010

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1LadyViolet
Edited: Mar 20, 2010, 9:40am Top

Hello! I decided to join the 75'ers this year since I far surpassed my 50 book target in the other group so I thought why not give this place a try?
Last year's thread with the rather lengthy list of books read is here
The plan for 2010 shall be to clear some of my TBR backlog, continue with series that I'm already reading (i.e. restrict the number of new series that I get hooked on) and do some re-reads of books I haven't read in a long time. What books I read when will be almost entirely random and subject to my ever-changing whims. It'll also depend on what books I have accessible since I'm currently at university and separated from the vast majority of my library.
In the weeks leading up to the new year I shall possibly cobble together a list of some of the books I want to get read next year including TBR's since I'm going to be doing the Off the Shelves Challenge as well Thread being here

Date read will be shown as (day/month/year AM or PM) since I'm British and therefore cannot get my head round the back-to-front way that you people do it over the pond ;)
Any really memorable reads shall be underlined and milestone books will be bolded. If i'm feeling really clever I may try to link the books in the list below to the post in which they're reviewed (whenever I get round to reviewing them as I'm rather lazy sometimes)

LadyV's List for 2010
January
1. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (2/1/2010 AM)
2. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (3/1/2010 AM)
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (5/1/2010 AM)
4. The Gift by Alison Croggon (6/1/2010 AM)
5. The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth by Brian Sibley (7/1/2010 AM)
6. Darke Academy: Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole (9/1/2010 AM)
7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (9/1/2010 AM)
8. The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick (11/1/2010 AM)
9. Dingo by Charles de Lint (11/1/2010 PM)
10. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (13/1/2010 AM)
11. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (16/1/2010 AM)
12. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (17/1/2010 AM)
13. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (20/1/2010 AM)
14. A Place beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (21/1/2010 AM)
15. Pagan's Vows by Catherine Jinks (22/1/2010 AM)
16. Alanna: L'Epreuve by Tamora Pierce (23/1/2010 PM)
17. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (27/1/2010 AM)
18. Fallen by Lauren Kate (28/1/2010 AM)
19. The Secret Circle vol. 1 by L.J. Smith (28/1/2010 PM)
20. The Secret Circle vol. 2 by L.J. Smith (29/1/2010 PM)
21. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (30/1/2010 AM)
22. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (31/1/2010 AM)
23. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (31/1/2010 PM)

February
24. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (4/2/2010 PM)
25. World Without End by Ken Follett (7/2/2010 PM)
26. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (14/2/2010 PM)
27. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin (15/2/2010 AM)
28. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16/2/2010 PM)
29. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (17/2/2010 AM)
30. Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman (18/2/2010 AM)
31. The Laurentine Spy by Emily Gee (19/2/2010 AM)
32. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (20/2/2010 AM)
33. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (24/2/2010 AM)
34. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (25/2/2010 AM)
35. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (25/2/2010 AM)
36. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (27/2/2010 AM)
37. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (28/2/2010 AM)

March
38. Sabriel by Garth Nix (2/3/2010 AM)
39. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (2/3/2010 PM)
40. The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott (3/3/2010 AM)
41. Little (grrl) Lost by Charles de Lint (4/3/2010 AM)
42. Gone by Michael Grant (5/3/2010 AM)
43. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (9/3/2010 AM)
44. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (10/3/2010 PM)
45. Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (11/3/2010 AM)
46. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (15/3/2010 AM)
47. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker (19/3/2010 AM)

Bring on the New Year!!

2alcottacre
Dec 13, 2009, 7:58am Top

Welcome to the group!

3elliepotten
Dec 13, 2009, 10:57am Top

I'm coming over here too for 2010 - nice to see I'm in wonderful and familiar company! I haven't set my thread up yet but when I do I'll post it over on this year's 50-Book thread...

4drneutron
Dec 13, 2009, 2:51pm Top

Welcome!

5Carmenere
Dec 13, 2009, 9:19pm Top

Good luck in the 75er's LadyV. I thnk you're going to like it here.

6LadyViolet
Dec 14, 2009, 11:56am Top

Thanks for the welcomes so far :)
Carmenere- I think I shall enjoy being here although I have the sneaking suspicion that my bank balance won't like it one bit :P

7JessicaLouise23
Dec 19, 2009, 12:24pm Top

I found you and I'm gona star you! :P

8LadyViolet
Edited: Jan 2, 2010, 8:29am Top

Well hello there folks! It's finally the New Year and I've got my first book to review already!

1. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
Finished this early this morning and what a cracking start to the year! The adventure continues in Middle-Earth and *this* wide-eyed Hobbit discovers all this brilliance for the first time. Yea I'll confess- I've not properly read the books before and yet I adore the films to the point of obsession, it's a horrific crime on my part which I working to absolve myself of this year as I'm going on the hunt for any and all Tolkien works that I don't currently own.
Ah digressions! Anyways I loved the book and I'm growing rather fond of Treebeard and even fonder of Merry and Pippin- I do love those Hobbits! I'm also really enjoying the Gimli-Legolas moments as the pair of them are really quite amusing- I hadn't actually realised that their little competitions to see who can kill the most orcs was *in* the books. I kind of thought that was something that Peter Jackson and Co. had put in to provide some comic relief in the very hellish Helm's Deep. Oh and how can I forget the ever-wonderful Samwise Gamgee? I am now a fan of Sam - in some ways he's almost more important to the success of the mission than Frodo because it's *Sam* who keeps Frodo at least semi-sane and able to go on and without him I reckon Frodo would have gotten himself throttled by Gollum back in the Emyn Muil and the whole mission would have gone belly-up.
Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5

Woo hoo! bring on Return of the King!!

9alcottacre
Jan 2, 2010, 8:35am Top

I love Samwise Gamgee! Great start to your reading year there, Rachel.

10LadyViolet
Jan 2, 2010, 8:40am Top

>9 alcottacre: I partly engineered having The Two Towers as my first 2010 read the same way that I had the Fellowship of the Ring as my 150th book of last year ;) Who knows maybe The Return of the King will magically become my 50th of this year??

11alcottacre
Jan 2, 2010, 8:43am Top

Sounds like a great plan!

12maggie1944
Jan 2, 2010, 9:51am Top

You've got a star on your thread in my computer! Welcome, and I look forward to reading your book comments.

13mstrust
Jan 2, 2010, 11:23am Top

Welcome, and glad you started your year with a great book!

14Luxx
Jan 3, 2010, 9:41am Top

I took a graduate course on Tolkien, and it was an amazing experience. We started with The Silmarillion (probably my favorite), went through The Hobbit, and finished The Lord of the Rings, with plenty of articles and history in between. Good for you for jumping in - it really is a wonderful story.

15maggie1944
Jan 3, 2010, 10:42am Top

oh, I would love a graduate course in Tolkien. What fun to read it all with commentary and discussions with others as we power read our way through it all.

16souloftherose
Jan 3, 2010, 10:48am Top

> 14/15 I agree, a graduate course on Tolkien sounds fantastic!

I'm glad you enjoyed The Two Towers LadyViolet. I love the Lord of the Rings books and films. I've always struggled a bit with The Silmarillion though.

17LadyViolet
Jan 3, 2010, 12:40pm Top

Ooh a whole course on Tolkien would be fascinating! Heck you could probably make a curriculum out of all the material there is - all the languages, history, songs and poetry would garner a fair amount of studying.

I finished another book very early this morning (like 3:30am early :S) and I'll post my review here hopefully after dinner which will be soon ... just to keep people in anticipation ;)

18dk_phoenix
Jan 3, 2010, 3:02pm Top

At my university, when I was in school, they offered a Tolkien course as part of the Medieval Studies program, but it was an 'open' class that anyone could take... however, the course always filled up within minutes after the registration opened, and the wait list was several hundred students long every semester. Sad to say, I never managed to get a place... but I heard that overall, the course was simply fantastic!

19Luxx
Jan 3, 2010, 8:08pm Top

The course was taught by an amazing professor - Verlyn Flieger, who edits Tolkien Studies. There is so much to the work that one class really wasn't enough. It was a wonderful experience, especially for someone who had no interest in Tolkien to begin with (I took the class because my partner is an amateur Tolkien scholar, and wanted to know what the fuss was about).

20elliepotten
Jan 4, 2010, 8:35am Top

Wow, I go away for five minutes and there's a Tolkien party going on over here!

Fantabulous start to the new year, hope ROTK turns out to be as wonderful for you... I have to admit, when I got to the end of such a long and involving and utterly absorbing, exciting, emotionally draining book (I read them straight through in one volume, it never occurred to me that I could read them separately!), I may have cried a little bit. Just a teensy, weensy, little, bit. Ahem.

21LadyViolet
Jan 4, 2010, 12:30pm Top

Hehe indeed Ellie ;)
Yeah I'm hoping to get onto ROTK soon although I want to try and mix in some different genres so I'm not reading several fantasy books back to back. It's probable that I may cry a bit towards the end since I did when i watched the films (I'm a total sucker for crying at films) so don't be embarrassed that you did :P

Since I neglected to do the review for my 2nd read yesterday I'll do it now while I remember.

2. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
This is the 5th Sookie Stackhouse book and now I've read this I'll need to go buy the last four as I only bought 1-5 back in August (I had a complete nightmare trying to find the second book). I am really enjoying this series so far as it makes for very interesting reading. Yes it is really vampy brain candy but it's *good* brain candy, better written and generally less irritating than other vampire series I've read like the House of Night books. While the plotline interests me, the writing and the characters often annoy the heck outta me with their idiotic way of speaking- see here for my rant on Tempted.
Anyway I'm off on a tangent. I don't know whether to briefly synopsise (hehe stole that word from the Orange pre-movie ad- anyone know what I mean?) the book since a lot of stuff happens in each book and for people who haven't read the earlier books and want to, I don't wanna spoil things... gah this review is degenerating into waffle. Basically more crazy stuff starts happening around Bon Temps, Sam (Sookie's Boss) gets shot and Merlotte's gets a temporary vampire bartender, Charles. Someone is out to get Sookie and tries darn hard to kill her only to be thwarted by Claudine and Sookie's "special hearing". A lot more than that happens as well but I don't want to mention everything cos then no one would need to read the book! Overall a pretty fast-paced and exciting read which I stayed up far too late to read and it's now messed my sleep-pattern up completely :(

I'm currently reading something different and should perhaps finish it tonight.

22LadyViolet
Jan 5, 2010, 5:50am Top

While I'm awake I suppose I'd better get my next "review" done (I know they're just me wiffling on at random). I keep feeling like I'm gonna just fall back asleep at any moment even if I am sitting up.

3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I'm sure everyone who went to see the new Sherlock Holmes film got a massive urge to read or re-read the books when they came out of the cinema. I got this urge earlier last year from seeing the trailers and managed to find a complete set of the Holmes books in excellent condition for only £10!! (that was a good day). I read his first two novellas last year and I'm now trying to get through the rest as they're forming part of my Books off the Shelf challenge.
This particular collection of short stories was another great read and I find it a marvel how Holmes manages to solve the mystery from the slightest detail that everyone else overlooks. I especially enjoyed the Speckled Band and the Engineer's Thumb cases and the Scandal in Bohemia in which the character Irene Adler appears. I wonder if she returns in another case to outwit Holmes a second time?
Overall a wonderful collection of mysteries and I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of Holmes' and Watson's adventures.

23elliepotten
Jan 5, 2010, 7:33am Top

I like your wiffling, m'lady - your reviews always give me a really good sense of what the book's like and what it's about and how I might respond to it. I might have to go out and do some more sleuthing for Sherlock Holmes books now - I did like The Hound of the Baskervilles and I think I saw The Speckled Band on TV, but that's about it so far!

24LadyViolet
Jan 5, 2010, 7:45am Top

Aw why thank you Ellie *blushes* I always find I'm terrible at giving a brief and informative description of what a book is about so i prefer not to try. I usually end describing the genre and tell whoever may be asking about it to read the bloody thing themselves! ;)
I think after I've got through all the Conan Doyle books that I might go on the hunt for Agatha Christie books as I quite fancy getting into the Marple and Poirot books. I was watching an episode of Poirot on tv yesterday while I was at my Gran's when the idea came to me although I fear it will take me a long time to acquire a decent collection of her books as she wrote dozens of the blighters!

25elliepotten
Jan 5, 2010, 8:08am Top

Yeah, I read a couple of hers years ago and enjoyed them. We have a few in the shop so I might 'borrow' one or two (ahem) at some point for a quick read...

26Luxx
Jan 5, 2010, 9:32am Top

Your "wiffing" works for me! I'm always interested in personal responses vs. book reports.

27missylc
Jan 5, 2010, 12:41pm Top

Got you starred! I'm a Harris devotee as well. Also reading a mystery novel based on Holmes stories -- The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King, in case you're interested.

28LadyViolet
Jan 5, 2010, 1:44pm Top

>27 missylc: I looked for the Laurie King book on Amazon only for it to say one edition is unavailable and the other would take several weeks to ship :/ hmph! and there's no product description gah i shall continue my search once I've helped take the christmas tree down.

29missylc
Jan 5, 2010, 8:15pm Top

I found it at my library -- try looking for it on worldcat.org to see if one near you has it. Good luck!

30LadyViolet
Jan 7, 2010, 12:54pm Top

Right as I'm almost settled back in at Uni I shall get my reviews up-to-date :)

4. The Gift by Alison Croggon
I fancied a re-read of the Pellinor books this year so I got through most of the first book on Tuesday (finished it wednesday morning). A note for interested parties this book is published as The Naming in the USA.
This series is an epic fantasy after the fashion of Tolkien. Edil-Amarandh - an ancient and mythical landscape much-changed over several ages is the continent over which this vast tale takes place. Maerad is a slave who has been living in Gilman's cot for 10 years and since her mother died she's been all alone with only her precious lyre as a means to retain her sanity. But then one day she finds a strange man hiding in the cow shed who tells her that he is a Bard and since Maerad is able to see him while he's wearing a glimmerspell then she must be a Bard as well. Together they escape from Gilman's Cot and thus begins a much larger adventure - to combat the threat of the return of a Great Evil. The Nameless One was overthrown thousands of years ago but now he is rebuilding his strength to launch an attack on the Seven Kingdoms. Cadvan the Bard and Maerad must travel to the city of Norloch where the First Circle of Bards resides to warn them of the impending doom.
This book is great if you like rich and detailed fantasy novels but don't feel quite up to the insanely well-detailed Tolkien books. Croggon has created a very believable and vibrant world although the foreword at the front of the book explaining this "translation of the Annaren scrolls recently found in archaeological digs" is perhaps a tad too much. As much as I would *like* to believe that this world did indeed exist tens of thousands of years ago, just before the Last Ice Age, trying to sound like it really *is* history by using authentic looking sources is only going to confuse me. (believe me I nearly did look up some of the "books" cited in the appendices on amazon)
The characters are very easy to like (excepting the bad guys obviously) although I must admit that Maerad does seem slightly Mary-Sueish sometimes with regards to the uber-powerful magic that can destroy Evil beings which no one else has killed before but I guess that's part and parcel with the whole Prophecy predicting The One Who Shall Vanquish The Nameless Evil plotline (I don't think that's *too* much of a spoiler d'you?).
Anywho, overall a really great book that I still really liked the second or third time round.

5. The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth by Brian Sibley
Stupid Touchstone isn't loading correctly >:(
I read this quickly last night/early morning before I went to sleep.
This is a gorgeous two-piece set in a slipcase with an illustrated book describing the origins and places on the four beautifully painted maps (by John Howe) of Middle-Earth, Beleriand, The Wilderland and Numenor which are included in their own hardcover binder-type thingimabob. A very interesting and informative book about the worlds Tolkien created although I'm positive that I can't pronounce *any* of the place names on the Beleriand except maybe Gondolin (which is easy).
I have one gripe about Sibley's text accompanying the maps- in a paragraph related to Edoras or Rohan he quotes Eowyn as being King Theoden's daughter "LIES!" I cried and after a minute or so frowning at the offending phrase and muttering about Sibley's stupidity I got over it and read the rest of the book. :P
When I get round to reading the Silmarillion I reckon I may break out the map of Beleriand from this set to have a reference point should ever I get confused.
A very lovely set for the nerdy map-loving Tolkiennite.

Now as I'm freezing I'm going to go brew some tea in my new teapot!!

31missylc
Jan 7, 2010, 7:14pm Top

The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-Earth sounds fantastic (despite the error)! Enjoy your tea!

32goneagain
Jan 7, 2010, 7:32pm Top

"although I must admit that Maerad does seem slightly Mary-Sueish sometimes with regards to the uber-powerful magic that can destroy Evil beings which no one else has killed before but I guess that's part and parcel with the whole Prophecy predicting The One Who Shall Vanquish The Nameless Evil plotline"

- XD

I like that your reviews have the tone of enthusiastic, engaging rants (meant in the most positive way imaginable!)

I've also planned to read The Two Towers this year, after re-watching the movies over xmas break for the umpteenth time. This notion has struck me before, though (seems to happen every time I watch them) and I've never gotten further than the first book. I do love the Legolas/Gimli storyline, though, so keeping your words in mind as motivation, I might just make it this time. Well... I'll give it a try, at least.

33alcottacre
Jan 8, 2010, 2:49am Top

#30: I am adding both books to the BlackHole.

Regarding the error in the Sibley book, I hate stuff like that. I cannot imagine that the editor was not sufficiently knowledgeable to know that Eowyn is Theoden's niece!

34avatiakh
Jan 8, 2010, 3:59am Top

I read the first Pellinor book a few years ago and have never got round to the next two. I really liked it too. I'll have to look them out.

35elliepotten
Edited: Jan 8, 2010, 9:53am Top

How very English of me that having read your spirited reviews (you gotta love 'em!), my mind immediately trains right onto 'oooh, you have a new teapot!'

P.S. Make good use of it - I don't know about you but I'm bloody freezing today!

36elkiedee
Jan 8, 2010, 10:06am Top

Just posting to say the Laurie R King book is one of a whole series featuring Mary Russell, who is married to Sherlock Holmes (!) - I think The Art of Detection is no 9, I have the first 8 at home. The series starts with The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

I have some catch up to do on both that and Charlaine Harris's Sookie series, and her other work.

37LadyViolet
Jan 8, 2010, 10:11am Top

>35 elliepotten: Ellie that gave me a right giggle- tis terribly English really to get all excited about teapots. My mum almost bought me a tea cosy with a penguin on it for christmas - I asked her why the hell didn't she?! Yea it's pretty darn cold here by the sea although in the sun it's positively balmy ;)

>36 elkiedee: Ah right thanks that's good to know really or I'd be terribly confused if I started with the 9th book.

38lunacat
Jan 8, 2010, 10:25am Top

Definitely looking forward to following you this year, it seems like you like a lot of books I will as well!

39JessicaLouise23
Jan 8, 2010, 12:34pm Top

Ah I see you've made a good start on your challenge Rach :)

40missylc
Jan 8, 2010, 8:13pm Top

#36-37: The detective in The Art of Detection is named Kate Martinelli -- I think it's a different series than the one featuring Mary Russell (from what other readers have told me, at least). I had never read books from either series and was able to pick up in the middle just fine, for what it's worth. The story seemed pretty self-contained.

41LadyViolet
Jan 9, 2010, 5:58pm Top

Evening folks! I had a mini readathon last night and finished two books just before stupid o'clock in the morning and as a result of which I didn't wake up properly until 1pm *zoinks!*
Anyways reviews is what we're here for eh?

6. Darke Academy: Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole
Borrowed this from the public library to satisfy my curiosity because it keeps popping up on my Amazon recommendations.
Most important thing to mention - IT'S NOT A VAMPIRE BOOK! I got the impression from looking at the cover and reading the piddly little blurb that this was gonna be another vamp book which is alright if it was good but the genre has really reached saturation point now so it does wear thin reading the same spiel over and over.
Thankfully this is *not* one of those books - Secret Lives is the first in (I think) a trilogy and written by an English author *hallelujah!* which is great IMO as I think there is not enough British Paranormal fiction out at the moment. The Main character Cassie is British and thank-the-stars she's not one of those horrendous stereotyped Posh thorough-bred Brits who talks like the Queen- she's from a rough area and has lived in a foster home for nearly 10 years. So when Cassie gets a scholarship for the highly exclusive Darke Academy it's her chance to turn her life around. She travels to Paris where the School is based for this term (oh didn't I say- the school moves to another city in another *country!* every term) and at first feels terribly out of place when surrounded by all the rich kids from around the world. Thankfully her roommate Isabella is not stuck-up and sneering like the Ice Queen Katerina and they become good friends.
However after a few weeks at the Darke Academy Cassie starts to notice some strange things going on which somehow are all related to the Elite group of students called the Few...
A very interesting and refreshingly different story that kept me wondering what the big bad secret was until the end and I'm very curious as to what'll happen in the next book when the Academy is relocating to New York.

7. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
I know it's a bit odd to jump backwards and read the Hobbit before I've read Return of the King but I am an odd person and randomosity suits me fine :)
Again I'm kicking myself for not reading this sooner - another fantastic book from Tolkien which I devoured in about three sittings over the course of yesterday.
I loved it from the get-go; the first chapter when all the dwarves turned up at Bilbo's out of the blue was hilarious- just seeing Bilbo getting more and more wound-up as the party gets bigger was so amusing. After the expedition leaves the Shire it turns into a roller-coaster ride of a journey to the Wilderland- just when you think they've got over the worst obstacle something even worse happens which they have to try and escape from. I really like the Riddles in the Dark chapter where we first meet Gollum; you really do pity him at the moment Bilbo considers killing him and I can fully understand why he spared his life.
An absolutely terrific book which I am definitely going to re-read once I get my mitts on my own copy. I also went a bit mental when I saw all the runes on the map at the start and for some reason looked up the runic alphabet Tolkien used and I've been randomly writing in runes today when i really should have been working :S

But anyway I've taken far too long writing this post so I'll finish there.

42alcottacre
Jan 10, 2010, 12:06am Top

I really enjoy The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I also enjoy The Hobbit too. I am glad you liked it.

43missylc
Jan 10, 2010, 7:21pm Top

Oooh, maybe I'm due for a reread of The Hobbit this year -- my favorite Tolkien book so far! Darke Academy sounds good too!

44LadyViolet
Jan 11, 2010, 5:10am Top

Good heavens it is early! after waking up the past two days at 1 in the afternoon being up at quarter to 10 is absolutely horrific!! But since I've got a fair few errands to run today (least of all going to the doctor's to find out *why* I'm always so tired) I'm going to do my review for my latest read now.

8. The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick
This was the third library book I got from the public library in town and since I'm going to return the other two today I thought last night that it'd be a good idea to read this to save me having to make two trips.
Although this is only possibly the second Chadwick book I've read -I love this woman! I really like medieval history and her books are like the equivalent of Nicholas Sparks' books in tunics and hose. While the romance isn't always as obvious straight away as in Sparks' novels, it is there and eventually there'll be at least *some* interaction between the two intended characters.
I love how Chadwick has her female protagonists as being headstrong, willful women who don't really like to bossed about by men (at least in the two books I've read so far), Miriel in this story is so outrageously wild that her big bruiser of a step-father forces her to enter a convent since she was going to be too unruly to find a husband for. But when a rather handsome young man is found half-dead not far from the convent Miriel devotes herself to getting him back to health. After a scandalous incident whereby Miriel was caught with her wimple off in front of Nicholas (the young man) she is locked up for two day's penance and he is moved from the infirmary to the guest house. On the day she is released Nicholas leaves the convent and in a fit of rebelliousness Miriel grabs some food and a cloak and climbs over the wall and runs away after him. But of course the story is not so simple as that - much more happens before the end.
I really liked this book and it kept me gripped until 3am which is always a good indicator of how great a book is. I'm definitely going to have to buy myself a copy of this to add to my meagre collection of Chadwick books which I have so far. I may have to read the other book I have with me at university as I'm rather fancying a historical fiction stint (although I do have to make a start on World without End for the group Read)

Right gotta bustle a bit and get my errands done so I can do some productive stuff this afternoon and get an earlyish night with a clear conscience.

45souloftherose
Jan 11, 2010, 7:03am Top

I enjoyed your reviews LadyV, hope the doctor's appointment goes ok and get some good rest soon.

46lunacat
Jan 11, 2010, 1:10pm Top

I really enjoy Chadwicks books as well and have quite a few of them, I enjoy them as a slighter better type of 'romance', with some historical detail and depth to them that makes them stand out slightly. I haven't come across one yet that I don't like.

47Carmenere
Jan 11, 2010, 7:37pm Top

I have never, ever considered reading The Hobbit but perhaps it is something I should look into.

48Luxx
Jan 11, 2010, 9:05pm Top

Now you need to find time to read The Silmarillion!

49Fourpawz2
Jan 12, 2010, 5:17pm Top

I don't have enough Chadwick books, but I love every one that I've read so far.

50LadyViolet
Jan 12, 2010, 5:47pm Top

>49 Fourpawz2: That's exactly my sentiment; I've only read 2 or 3 of her books so far but I absolutely love them! I've been trying to find decent second-hand copies in any charity shop I come across although I've found that they're not the books that really get donated as I think people want to keep hold of them more than the innumerable Dan Brown and John Grisham books that are *always* littering those shops. (No offence to anyone who may like those authors but it's what I've noticed)

Oh whoops I forgot, I haven't reviewed the book I read yesterday! If I start getting behind it'll only get worse and then I'll be playing major catch-up with about 10 books.

9. Dingo by Charles de Lint
When I took my other library books back yesterday I spotted this and thought it looked interesting enough to take a look. I've heard de Lint being mentioned in the FantasyFans group and since I've never read anything by him I may as well give him a go.
Dingo was a certainly original story which combined Australian mythology with a modern setting. I did enjoy it although it wasn't terribly long and since I read pretty fast it was all over before too long.

Spoilery bit next sorry

I also found the ending a bit "wait, hold up what just happened here?" one minute the bad guy is a mortal threat to two of the characters, next minute he's all "ah great thanks for helping me out, I'll leave you guys alone from now on" (imagine that bit in an Aussie accent) and everyone, or almost everyone goes on their merry, happy little ways. What the heck? The conflict and tension was basically snuffed out by some strange bit of logic which escaped my comprehension.
end of spoilers
Overall it was good but not great IMO, not really long enough for my liking and the ending just threw me. But the cover art was gorgeous so the pretty factor adds some merit ;)

I'm still going with Locke Lamora and I've got the first Prydain book to read if I wanna jump on the Group read Bandwagon even though I'm already late. I'm gonna probably get myself a mug of hot squash and curl up with a book in a min so night folks!

51drneutron
Jan 13, 2010, 8:43am Top

I haven't read Dingo, so can't comment on that one. But if you're up for another de Lint, try Moonheart. It's his best, IMHO.

52LadyViolet
Jan 13, 2010, 8:54am Top

>51 drneutron: Thank for that DrN I shall see if I can find Moonheart somewhere - I do want to try more de Lint as it's not really fair to write him off after one book.

53JessicaLouise23
Jan 13, 2010, 12:13pm Top

Ah Chadwick's books sound right up my street I may have to hunt me down a book or two of hers!

54LadyViolet
Jan 13, 2010, 12:52pm Top

>Jess!! *hugs* it seems like ages since I've spoke to you although it's probably only been a day lol. YES! Do look for some Chadwicks they are marvellous! Random question how much snow has they been over your way cos I've got bloody rain over here! :(

55JessicaLouise23
Jan 13, 2010, 1:19pm Top

I know I've missed you so much hun *hugs* feels like we haven’t had a proper chat for ages with everything that’s been going on but hopefully things will be back to normal now :)

Hmm are they a series or stand alone? I really want to give Chadwick a try I may have a hunt for her in the library.

Ah well we hadn’t had any snow the last few days it was all going into slush which I was happy about because we’ve had so much that I’m now sick of it! and then last night it snowed lots and now everything is white again. Ah I think we should do a trade then I want the snow to go by my birthday because I’m not going out in heels and a dress in this weather!

56LadyViolet
Jan 13, 2010, 1:25pm Top

I know! proper chatskies are definitely in order :)

A couple of her books are linked but they all work as stand-alones which is fab!

Oh you poor thing lol - there was no snow when I got here last thursday and there's been nary a sign of any arriving since although apparently there's supposedly going to be some on Friday (I'll believe it when I see it). Ouch no I doubt it's really the right month for going out in minimal clothing :P

57JessicaLouise23
Jan 13, 2010, 2:39pm Top

Don’t worry I’ll be sure to write you a real long lengthy letter soon :)

Ah awesome I’ll have to have a nose on amazon see which ones I like the sound of most.

You must be the only place in England with no snow atm! I hope you get some soon. Yeah I don’t care if I have a pretty dress to wear and its my birthday if its like its been then I’ll be arriving in jumpers jeans thermal vests and sensible foot wear ;) hehe

58LadyViolet
Jan 13, 2010, 3:05pm Top

Ah smashing :)

Hehe I've managed to acquire two more Chadwicks (I don't have them yet but I will soon) from the bf in repayment for my buying him a book which he wanted.

I know! it's shocking although I'm sure that I'll be complaining when we actually get some :P lol i can totally see that - everyone's dressed up to the nines and freezing to death and you're there all wrapped up and smug as heck ;)

59blackdogbooks
Edited: Jan 14, 2010, 9:23am Top

On De Lint, also try any of his Newford series of stories.

60bdewey
Jan 14, 2010, 9:30am Top

Are you glad you are doing this.

61LadyViolet
Jan 15, 2010, 8:51am Top

>59 blackdogbooks: BDB well there's 20 odd in that "series" isn't there? So i think I'll have plenty to choose from when I find some.

I've been lazy and not put up my review of The book of three yet which I shall do now or I'll never remember.

10. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Right people who've seen the group read thread for the Prydain Chronicles may notice that I've blatantly copied my post from into here cos I'm too lazy to write it from scratch. But I will try and edit out any spoilery bits there may be.
I actually really enjoyed reading this book considering I didn't really know what to expect.
For the most part the book was an excellent mix of Fantasy, mythology, adventure and suspense but with one drawback being that it was overly fast-paced - I zipped through the book in a couple of hours and it did feel like we were being dragged from one event to the next without pausing for a little while. I don't have a massive problem with how quick it was because it was a very enjoyable story but I think considering it is a children's book then the pacing makes sense to keep a child's interest over the series.
I did like how Taran matured slightly through the course of the book and hopefully over the rest of the series. Eilonwy I found quite annoying with all her continuing chatter but she could be sweet at times. For some reason I really love Gurgi - from the start he reminded me of Gollum, albeit a furrier, less evil, more childlike version of him but with all his bouncing around talking of "crunchings and munchings" I got this very vivid image of Smeagol in the Two Towers grumbling about the lack of "crunchable birdses". I loved how even he changed during the book from the cowardly often unreliable creature he was to being quite brave and fighting with the others against the Horned King.

I really want to read the rest of the series now and weirdly I want to watch my old VHS of the Disney film "The Black Cauldron" even though that was hands down the scariest disney film I've ever seen- I want to see how that lines up with the books. I'd definitely recommend this book as a quick highly enjoyable fantasy read.

haha what a great time-saving measure! I should do that more often :P

62blackdogbooks
Jan 15, 2010, 10:12am Top

Yep, 20 odd is a bout right. Start with one of the collections of shorts that start the series. Dreams Underfoot is a good one. They don't have to be read in order, though he suggests an order on his website for the truly OC afflicted among us.

63Fourpawz2
Jan 15, 2010, 10:58am Top

O.K. all this nitter-natter about Chadwick means that I must go over to Amazon right now and spend some serious money. I've been holding out on reading the one book of hers that I own that I've not read yet - don't know why I do that. Habit, I guess - but now I will have to read it so need another Chadwick to hold in reserve.

64LadyViolet
Jan 15, 2010, 11:05am Top

>Fourpawz : love the word nitter-natter I *must* find a way to use that more often. Although i really shouldn't encourage people to add to their TBRs I can't help it - do it! Once i've read all the books I own and can get from the library I'll probably go on a mad hunt to find more as I'm determined to read all of her books.
I'm definitely on a medieval stint at the moment with reading Chadwick and starting on the group read of World without End, I may have to try and find some Historical Non-fiction on the period to supplement things. *plots*

65Fourpawz2
Jan 15, 2010, 11:46am Top

Pre-ordered The Scarlet Lion. Feel much better now.

66lunacat
Jan 15, 2010, 11:49am Top

#65

Lol. You're currently in the feeling of bliss that is produced by purchasing books you don't need. Isn't it wonderful?

67LadyViolet
Edited: Jan 15, 2010, 11:52am Top

>Fourpawz I'll need to read that after I've read The Greatest Knight but luckily I've seen it at my local library so I'm sorted :)

ETA: Lunacat: how is any purchase of books not necessary? :P

68JessicaLouise23
Jan 15, 2010, 12:12pm Top

Gah I want some Chadwick books! I’ve decided I'm definitely going to start Alanna: The first adventure next Rach which with either be tonight or tomorrow night epp! Most excited! :)

69LadyViolet
Jan 15, 2010, 1:16pm Top

Awesome! :D I'm dying to know what you think!!

70JessicaLouise23
Jan 15, 2010, 1:38pm Top

I'll let you know as soon as I'm done!

71Fourpawz2
Jan 15, 2010, 2:12pm Top

I know there are a pile of people here on LT who are consciously trying to reduce their TBR backlogs, but I am not one of them. I am still in the acquiring mode and I think I probably will be for the rest of my life. Sure hope the floors in my house can take it.

72elliepotten
Jan 16, 2010, 6:12am Top

I was feeling quite proud of myself when I noticed gaps starting to appear on my shelves where I was reading books and then taking them to the shop if I wasn't going to read them again... Then last night the blinkers fell off and I realised I have FIVE PILES of books still to catalogue, and this morning when I was waiting for the bank to open I accidentally went to Help the Aged and bought two more...

On the plus side, The Remains of the Day was already on my wish list, and High Fidelity I had a few years ago and gave away before I read it... so not too sinful, right? Plus the lady thought there was a torn page so she did them for 79p each, when in fact when I got it back to the shop it was just folded down. BARGAIN!!!

73JessicaLouise23
Jan 16, 2010, 12:10pm Top

I’m starting to accept the fact that for the rest of my life I’ll probably always have a large TBR pile. At the minute its not so good with living at home with nowhere to put them all but I like to think that I’ll have a rather fabulous library someday *sighs wistfully* My resolution this year is to try and not buy so many books though. I’ve just spent the last of my Christmas vouchers so next time I want some new books (give me a day or so) I’ll have to buy them out of my own money.

74LadyViolet
Jan 16, 2010, 12:18pm Top

>Ellie "accidents" like that happen all the time to me - I've "fell" into charity shops so many times ;) Cracking sounding bargain that - I haven't managed anything quite that spectacular except maybe when I got all the Sherlock Holmes books in basically mint condition for a tenner which still amazes me.

>Jess I think I'm gonna have to accept that fact as well cos since the start of the year my TBR pile has gone up not down and I've only got about 3 BotS reads done out of the 11 books I've read which is bad. I'm supposed to be doing at least 5 TBR books a month.
I've really got to try and cut down the number of impulse buys and just stick to the necessary next-in-series buys but I see myself failing massively on that front.

75JessicaLouise23
Jan 16, 2010, 12:21pm Top

Yeah its best to just accept your problem at this point Rach, and lets face it I think we'd go slightly mad without a huge pile of TBR books and would only rush out and buy more for worry that we'd run out of books to read ;)

76LadyViolet
Jan 16, 2010, 12:24pm Top

yea you're entirely right - even though I would gladly re-read books I already have, I would feel quite bereft without a nice stack of sparkly new books to read when I fancied. It's the knowing you've got them if needed which is so comforting :P

77LadyViolet
Jan 16, 2010, 2:57pm Top

First off a bit of self-promotion. I have literally just revamped my failed attempt at a book blog which I started last year and left to wither pretty much straight away. This year I hope to be more successful; at this point in time it's rather basic as I'm not too hot at the whole computer stuff to make everything uber pretty and whatnot but I shall try to improve the look of it when I know how. If people are willing to have a look at it and recommend stuff for me to do with it then I'll be eternally grateful :D LadyV's book blog

Next I have another review to post.

11. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
I can't remember for the life of me whose thread I saw this reviewed on but nevertheless I plucked this off a shelf at my university library since I'd heard good things about it.
And they were totally right. This was a wonderful dystopian novel set in a near-future USA which follows Snowman, a man whose life changed completely after a mysterious event which destroyed all civilisation and humanity. He's left alone accompanied only by the strange biologically enhanced animals and the even stranger Children of Crake who are genetically modified humanoids.
Over the course of the book we move back and forth between the present as Snowman tries to survive in the empty world around him and the past when Snowman was called Jimmy and how his life became inextricably linked with Crake's who created these new breed of "humans". It's actually terribly disturbing to think that there could be someone like Crake in the future, near or distant. If someone with his terrifying intelligence and extremely questionable principles were to be in the kind of position where he could genetically manipulate huge numbers of people then it's almost too dreadful to think what they might do.
Atwood has created an astonishingly brilliant novel with dark humour and a plethora of scary possibilities for the future. I hope to God that no one uses her imagination as a base plan for any sinister plots in the years to come. I very much enjoyed this book and I will definitely have to read Year of the Flood which I've heard is a sort-of sequel set in the same world as this. Highly recommended.

78lunacat
Jan 16, 2010, 4:26pm Top

Speaking of ever increasing book piles, I suffered this problem until about a week before christmas this year.

Then I focused on a new challenge for both my time and my money and I have been able to not buy books for.......about 20 days! Giving myself a real goal to aim for that involved me NOT buying books and saving my money. The only way I've been able to do it is to link the 'not buying books' to being the only way to achieve a life long dream.

Sorry if that doesn't make sense!

79Cait86
Jan 16, 2010, 5:56pm Top

Oryx and Crake is on my TBR pile for April, along with several other Atwoods, so I am glad you enjoyed it! Was it your first foray into Atwood's writing? She is one of my favourite authors, so if you ever want other recommendations, let me know!

80LadyViolet
Jan 16, 2010, 6:03pm Top

>79 Cait86: Cait - I read The Handmaid's Tale last year although I think I prefer Oryx and Crake. But I would be very glad of some recommendations (even though I know full well that I don't need to be adding any more to my TBR but never mind :P)

81alcottacre
Jan 17, 2010, 12:01am Top

#77: I loved Oryx and Crake when I read it last year. I do suggest you read the follow up book as well, The Year of the Flood.

82JessicaLouise23
Jan 17, 2010, 10:55am Top

Hmm may have to check out Oryx and Crake after I get round to reading my copy of The Handmaid's Tale Oh and by the way I love your blog keep up with it this year :)

83missylc
Jan 17, 2010, 11:40am Top

I was appropriately scared and impressed by Oryx and Crake -- glad you liked it!

84lunacat
Jan 17, 2010, 12:37pm Top

Bizarrely, even though I love dystopian novels and usually enjoy Atwood's novels, I have never managed to complete Oryx and Crake on the three times I have attempted it.

I always think I must give it another go. Maybe fourth time lucky?

85Cait86
Jan 17, 2010, 12:39pm Top

#80 - Well, since you asked :)

The Blind Assassin is my absolute favourite Atwood, but it is a tough read. Lots of intertwining narratives; it is basically a book inside a book inside a book.

Alias Grace is excellent as well, especially if you like Victorian novels - it is very detailed. Again, lots of narratives going on, and lots of questions about the reliability of the narrators.

Cat's Eye is more modern, about the awful things young girls do to their supposed "friends", and the psychological repercussions they can have.

These three are not park of Atwood's "speculative fiction" novels (which include The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood).

Her poetry and short stories are really good too!

86JessicaLouise23
Jan 17, 2010, 1:09pm Top

Oh my god they all sound so good! What have you done Cait86?! Now I want them all! :P Gah I better get reading The Handmaid's Tale soon so I can buy some of these!

87LadyViolet
Jan 17, 2010, 1:09pm Top

>85 Cait86: Thankee very muchly for the recs Cait I shall have to look them out at the library in the near future.

In other news I have another review to do since I finally finished the book I started early last week.

12. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Well this was definitely a man's fantasy novel - very gritty and coarse with a lot of swearing but ultimately I enjoyed it even if I did read it in stints.
Lynch has created a very interesting world and the characters of Locke and the other Gentleman Bastards were wonderful to follow- little Bug who liked to think he was 10 feet tall and invincible, Locke being fairly weak in the physical sense but could impersonate almost anyone and lied just as easily as breathing.
It was a pretty action-filled book with multiple layers of plot which eventually become tangled as we reach the climax of the story which I really didn't see coming.
I don't really know what to say about this book because while I enjoyed it and will very likely reading the sequel in the future I think this wouldn't appeal to some people because it is quite bloody in places and if you're not one for lots of swearing (including a rather interesting use of a very bad 4 letter word as a verb) in your books then you might want to give this a miss.
However if like me you don't mind a bit of gore and crude language so long as it's humourous from time to time then you will perhaps enjoy this book.

88elliepotten
Jan 18, 2010, 5:45am Top

I've still not read any Atwood - I've just ordered The Handmaid's Tale for the 'Atwood in April' group read and for my 'new-to-me' 1010 category - but your review of Oryx and Crake is brilliant! I think yours is the first review to make me really fancy reading it... :-)

89LadyViolet
Jan 18, 2010, 6:20am Top

>Ellie *blushes* you are too kind! :) I'm reading Rebecca at the moment and loving it!

90JessicaLouise23
Jan 18, 2010, 1:32pm Top

So I may have purchased Cat's Eye and Alias Grace off amazon earlier after Cait86's suggestion ;)

91LadyViolet
Jan 18, 2010, 1:34pm Top

Lol Jess! what happened to resisting purchasing books for a while? :P
I know I can't talk but technically I only spent £5 today on my new books :D

92JessicaLouise23
Jan 18, 2010, 1:37pm Top

I know and that wasn’t all I also brought Under the Dome by Stephen King and Immortal: love stories with bite which is a collection of vampire love stories by some of my favourite authors. *sighs* the rentals did offer to buy them for my birthday so I may take them up on the offer!

93JessicaLouise23
Jan 18, 2010, 1:54pm Top

Oh Rach just checked out your new buys what a bargain! Where did you get them all from?

94LadyViolet
Jan 18, 2010, 2:29pm Top

I got the Du Maurier books and the Sparks book from the Works in town which had a crazy sale on they were 99p *each*!! normally that place is naff for books that I actually want but they seem to keep having a load of du Maurier's books whenever I go in (which isn't all that often)

95JessicaLouise23
Jan 18, 2010, 3:18pm Top

Ah you got lucky then :)

96LadyViolet
Jan 18, 2010, 3:36pm Top

Indeedy I did :) oh oh!! I has a new functioning fountain pen!!! *nerd* It was cheap but still looks sleek and elegant and it works unlike my posh rather pricy parker one which fails. lol I wandered into Smiths and saw it and bought it with a load of cartridges.

97LadyViolet
Jan 18, 2010, 5:16pm Top

OK so I know that this doesn't really have much to do with my challenge but I can't really post this anywhere else without getting flagged like i'm spamming the place about my blog (i'm just being eager cos I'm new to it).
I just finished a new post which admittedly is rather lengthy and *Very* high on the ramble scale but I still wanna post the link where the booky people can find it since there's no point me putting it out on my Twitter or Facebook since nearly all of my RL friends couldn't give a stuffed sock-monkey about the books I read and any blogs i do about them.
So for interested parties here's the link to my Monday Musings blog post.

Thank you :)

98FAMeulstee
Jan 18, 2010, 6:59pm Top

I read your blog and went right on to your Profile Page... WOW!!!
Anita

99missylc
Jan 18, 2010, 7:37pm Top

Ditto #98 -- nice blog, LadyViolet!

100LadyViolet
Edited: Jan 20, 2010, 9:14am Top

>98 FAMeulstee:/99 Thankee very muchly for your kind words :) I really appreciate it.

13. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I finished this around half 2 this morning and OH MY WORD! I was utterly gripped for the last quarter of the book, I couldn't bear to put it down no matter how late it was. This was only the second du Maurier book I've read but I really do love her writing - it's so beautifully descriptive and at the same time deliciously creepy and gothic.
Rebecca draws you in from the very start with the very long and drawn-out dream sequence taking you all the way up the drive to a wild overgrown Manderley and there are such vivid images of the chaos surrounding the house that you are completely entranced by it all.
I found it so sad that you never find out the first name of the second Mrs de Winter, but I realise that this was du Maurier's intent to have her as an unremarkable shadow of a woman who is always overlooked and compared to the vibrant and much-loved Rebecca. The only unusual thing about her was her unique name but we are cruelly denied the knowledge of what exactly it is - I know it will frustrate *me* forever as I dearly want to know because I felt so sorry for her having only her role as "Mrs de Winter" to identify herself and being entirely dependent on her husband. I know I would despair at such a fate.
I loved and loathed Mrs Danvers - god that woman was terrifying! But she was so brilliantly poisonous and cruel that any scenes with her and Mrs de Winter were wonderfully exciting whilst being horrifying at the same time. Her spiteful behaviour towards Mrs de Winter made you feel really uncomfortable as you pitied the poor girl for being reminded of the woman who came before. Rebecca, who was her superior in every respect and her presence which could be felt everywhere in Manderley slowly destroying the second wife's confidence and self-esteem to the point where Mrs Danvers very nearly succeeded in pushing her over the edge with her vicious lies.
Overall this book was spectacular - I was hooked from very early on and as I raced towards the end I was unable to tear myself away from the revelations around Rebecca's death and her marriage to Max. The final scene was built up with such a feeling of dread that you knew something awful was going to happen. I cannot recommend this highly enough and it's now one of my all-time favourites. I will definitely look forward to reading more of du Maurier's work over this year. Wow. Just. Wow.

ETA: I've posted the review on LT itself as well.

101drneutron
Jan 20, 2010, 9:19am Top

Nice review, well deserved thumbs-up from me!

102Donna828
Jan 20, 2010, 9:59am Top

>100 LadyViolet:: I loved Rebecca -- both the book and your review-- AND your blog. Nice plug for LT on it. :-) I look forward to following your reading (and other) adventures in life. Hope your sister heals quickly. I broke my ankle as a teenager, and it is not a happy memory for me.

103LadyViolet
Jan 20, 2010, 10:07am Top

>Donna Thanks! I will probably gush about LT on my blog every week cos that I'm that nerdy ;)
I'm hoping my sister will be able to go home later today or tomorrow - she's already had a twice broken leg so I think she's enough of a trooper to cope with her ankle, she's just going to get extremely bored of being in a cast.

>DrN - thanks for the thumb! :)

104JessicaLouise23
Jan 20, 2010, 12:23pm Top

Love your review for Rebecca Rach really want to crack on and read it now im going to thumb it! Also really hope Beth gets better soon!

105missylc
Jan 20, 2010, 12:57pm Top

Rebecca is another one for the TBR pile -- thanks for the review!

106_Zoe_
Jan 20, 2010, 1:38pm Top

I really liked Rebecca too--I should get around to reading some of Du Maurier's other books one of these days.

The lack of a name was especially troubling to me when I had to write an essay about the book in high school. I only wanted to say "the second Mrs de Winter" so often, and I think I ended up losing marks because I once said "she" when it wasn't clear who I was referring to. Grr.

107LadyViolet
Jan 20, 2010, 1:41pm Top

>Zoe I know what you mean about the name, I keep wanting to invent one for her because it feels so odd to just keep calling her "Mrs de Winter" or "she".

108cjwallace
Jan 20, 2010, 2:30pm Top

I think her lack of name is rather touching. I particularly like the reference to Maxim spelling her correctly "an unusual thing." It's another aspect of how she feels odd and awkward - people can't even spell her name right. Only Maxim gives her that respect.
I also sympathise hugely - you'd be amazed how many permutations of five letters it's possible to come up with -and have occasionally given her my name in my head!

Chloe

109lunacat
Jan 20, 2010, 2:59pm Top

I think I am one of the strange people in the world that did not like Rebecca. I just........don't get it. I mean, I understand it, but it leaves me absolutely...blank. Odd how some 'great' books do that, isn't it?

110LadyViolet
Jan 20, 2010, 3:06pm Top

>Jenni Well not everyone *has* to like the same books as everybody else, I'm sure there are lots of "classics" which are adored by some people on here which I wouldn't like at all.

111elliepotten
Jan 20, 2010, 4:30pm Top

Ooooh Rachel, according to my homepage you are SMOKING HOT right now! A Hot Review for you, congrats! And another thumb from me to add to the rest. You have perfectly captured every single thing I felt about the book, about the utterly gripping story and the awful tension between our poor young heroine and Mrs Danvers - and how it was impossible to put down! It was my favourite book of 2007 and it's definitely one of my top 10 of all time.

112LadyViolet
Jan 20, 2010, 4:40pm Top

>Ellie :O Omg you're right!!! *beams with happiness*

113alcottacre
Jan 20, 2010, 4:45pm Top

Rachel, great review of a great book! Congratulations on the hot review!!

114LadyViolet
Jan 21, 2010, 4:47pm Top

Review time again!! Stayed up late again last night to finish off my library book so I can get on with my TBRs.

14. A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
Yes this may be the second Chadwick book I've read this year already and it's certainly not going to be the last but who cares?
This time we travel to the early 12th century when King Henry I is king and John Fitzgilbert is his Marshal. After the King dies suddenly without naming an heir there is much unrest in England as the nobles dispute whether to support Henry's nephew Stephen, or his daughter the Empress Matilda. Faced with difficult choices John decides to divorce his meek wife Aline and marry Sybilla the sister of his enemy to forge a peace between them. Sybilla is not a woman to underestimate - she knows her own mind and will do what she pleases. Her marriage to John is a happy one and she bears him several children including several sons. One of these, William is featured in two of Chadwick's other novels when he is Marshal to the King and one of the most powerful men in England.
I really liked this book and found the characters of John and Sybilla very interesting - Aline his first wife made me cringe because she was such a timid and weak woman who ran at the sight of blood rather than help nurse people. I much preferred Sybilla's no nonsense attitude and her intelligence which made her a very good match for John.
What really tickled me was knowing that this book takes place at the same time as Pillars of the Earth so you can almost imagine that while John is fighting skirmishes with Stephen's soldiers, Prior Philip is toiling away in Kingsbridge trying to get his Cathedral built.
Another lovely book from Chadwick, I do believe that this woman can do no wrong when it comes to Historical Fiction of the medieval variety and I shall continue to enjoy reading her books until I've ran out of them (at which point I'll start re-reading them).

In other news: I've put my du Maurier review up on my blog and I've also done another massively long-winded post today for the Booking through Thursday meme. Link here

115richardderus
Jan 21, 2010, 5:30pm Top

Vi darling, I don't want to bring sad tidings, but your review of Rebecca just hit the top Hot Reviews spot.

Thought you should know.

116LadyViolet
Jan 21, 2010, 5:42pm Top

>Richard: thank you ever so much for letting me know although I have to admit that I have been stalking the list since this afternoon :P and grinning like a lunatic.

117alcottacre
Jan 21, 2010, 5:43pm Top

#114: Don't you just love it when you find an author you can fall in love with? Of course, then you simply must go out and buy everything they have ever written :)

118LadyViolet
Jan 21, 2010, 5:54pm Top

>Stasia: I wholly plan on acquiring all of Chadwick's books - I even added the ones I don't own yet to my Wishlist collection and started using my Read but Unowned one just so I could get a sense of childish glee at seeing all the pretty coloured checkmarks on the author page. I'll probably do the same with Nicholas Sparks' books at some point since I feel the need to get his entire works as well.

119alcottacre
Jan 21, 2010, 5:56pm Top

I feel the same kind of childish glee every time I walk into my personal library. Catey and I have been known just to walk in there and smile at the books. I know exactly where you are coming from, Rachel.

120LadyViolet
Jan 23, 2010, 12:18pm Top

Reviews! Reviews! I have more reviews! Unfortunately *nothing* is going to top my Rebecca review so these are going to be my bog-standard ramblings as my last two books, while thoroughly enjoyable are not comparable to the all-around Wow-ness found in du Maurier.

15. Pagan's Vows by Catherine Jinks
I am beginning to think I'm never leaving the middle ages as at least 5 of my recent reads have been somewhere in the 12th-14th centuries and this is no exception. This time I rejoined Pagan and Sir Roland in 12th century France as they hang up their swords to join the Abbey of St Martin. Like always Pagan cannot control his tongue and gets himself into trouble with the monks and finds it very difficult to adapt to monastic life. Although things get really interesting when he discovers the corruption hiding at the heart of the Abbey- Pagan has to battle against the distrust of the other monks to find evidence against those involved. And it's not without a cost.
Another brilliantly witty adventure with Pagan, I love the flow-of-consciousness style of the writing where we get Pagan's lightning-quick remarks interspersed with the dialogue. I'm gonna have to hunt for the fourth book soon and also the add-on book Babylonne which I believe is about Pagan's daughter. It's terribly annoying though because the books aren't available in this country so I'll have to get them shipped over from America which is going to cost me a ton *grumble gripe* Ah well it's gotta be done. So yes, another great story from Jink's definitely recommended.

16. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Right I'll have to clarify, this was the french translation of the book but I had to use the english title since "L'Epreuve" (The Ordeal) isn't recognised as a touchstone.
I've been reading this in little chunks since about last august, it's taken me so long to finish because I'm not that great at reading novels in french since the past tenses used are not the standard Perfect and Imperfect that you get taught at school. But luckily because I know the story so well from having re-read the English several times I can make out what's going on even though I didn't understand a third of the language. I still really enjoyed the book even if I did read it in such broken stints, I quite fancy re-reading the normal version soon as it's been a while. Now that I've actually finished a whole book in French I may try my hand at one of the other novels I have in translation to see how I manage with that. So unless you can read french I recommend you stick with Tammy in English :P Twas fun though.

121JessicaLouise23
Jan 25, 2010, 1:27pm Top

Hehe Rach was just reading your blog, yes what am I going to do if I get addicted to TP's books? I'll have to have them all shipped over! Ah well if I buy them in stages then the cost for them wont look *too* bad! ;)

122LadyViolet
Jan 25, 2010, 1:36pm Top

hehe yea ship over a quartet at a time (with matching covers obv) which looks nicer on the old bank balance rather than one massive order with the horrendous shipping costs :P
Gah i'm getting serious re-read urges but I'm not going home til March so I'll have to wait until I can get my mitts on my TP books! Lol I'm tempted to ask my parents to add them to the shipment of stuff I'm getting them to give to my cousin when she comes to visit next month. Oh and if you think I went mental with the chadwick books I haven't bought any more I've just added the rest of her books to my wishlist collection so I know what I've left to find.

123JessicaLouise23
Jan 25, 2010, 1:46pm Top

Yeah thats what I'm thinking I've got to have each quartet matching as well! me likes the covers for The Immortals quartet best I think.
Ah I see good idea! *nods head in approval* I brought some more of Daphne Du Maurier's books with my new birthday vouchers so I'll be adding them tomorrow when they should arrive!

124LadyViolet
Jan 25, 2010, 1:54pm Top

Oh you should see what I bought today... the Works has a sale on and I "fell" in there earlier and came out with a 9 book box set of Daphne du Maurier for less than a tenner!! *mind splodes* Yeaa I may already have 5 of the books but seriously it should have been Seventy quid!! OMG!
Which books did you order?

126LadyViolet
Jan 25, 2010, 2:05pm Top

ooh awesome I really liked Jamaica Inn when I read it last year, I don't know which book i'll read in Feb maybe My cousin Rachel since it's got my name in the title :P

127elkiedee
Jan 26, 2010, 4:28pm Top

I saw your mention of the Du Mauriers on another group - I have a set of Virago reprints of her work and 3 others from another remainder bookshop, but it sounds like this set has at least half the books different and ones I don't have. I just wish we had a branch of The Works in London.

128LadyViolet
Jan 26, 2010, 4:49pm Top

Elkie - yea this set hasn't got Rebecca or Jamaica Inn which you'd think would be the obvious ones to put in a collection of her books. I shall list the ones in the box set;
The Birds and other stories, The Glass-Blowers, The King's General, My Cousin Rachel, Mary Anne, Rule Britannia, The House on the Strand, The Scapegoat and The Loving Spirit
It's kind of annoying actually because if I'd seen this box when I went into the Works the last time then I could have saved myself having 4 duplicates now but it's not that bad since they only cost £4.
Hehe it's a shame that it's such a bulky set that would cost a fortune to post cos I could have bought a couple extra and ship them to fellow du Maurier hunters ;)
There isn't one branch in the whole of London?? wow I find that quite hard to imagine since I think there's one in most of the towns in my area- how bizarre.

129elkiedee
Jan 26, 2010, 4:53pm Top

I think there used to be a branch or two here but I looked at their store locator today and it looks like a lot of their shops are in small towns. High rents and competition may put them off here - there are some shops near work which are really much better than The Works for selling interesting remainders - I've acquired some interesting literary biographies and a few crime novels for between £1 and £3 each.

130LadyViolet
Jan 26, 2010, 4:58pm Top

Ah right that makes sense. Usually I don't go into The Works as it only tends to have tons of the crime novels and romance saga books that publishers can't shift but occasionally I'll find stuff like the du Maurier books. What I miss most being at uni is the lack of a British Heart Foundation shop in town as there's three or so near me at home and I have found quite a few bargains in there. I'm that odd that I do pine after a charity shop *oh dear* :P

131elkiedee
Jan 26, 2010, 5:01pm Top

There's one overlap there with the box set I bought, My Cousin Rachel and I have 4 of the others separately - my mum has Just Books in her town where I bought 3 of them. I think a lot of remainder shops offer similar books.

132elliepotten
Jan 28, 2010, 10:27am Top

I think My Cousin Rachel will be my next Du Maurier - I went to see the play years ago and it was pretty good even though I'd never even HEARD of the author back then. I've seen those box sets in our local Book Depot - same job, different name - and been tempted myself once or twice... And it's definitely not odd to miss the charity shops - when I was away at uni in York they were all really out-of-the-way and I hardly ever set foot in them unless I was over that way anyway. When I did I spent AGES in there trawling the bookshelves and made everyone I was shopping with really mad! :-)

133BookAngel_a
Jan 28, 2010, 1:50pm Top

132- Yes, I've noticed that I must be careful who I go book shopping with - some people just do not understand WHY anyone would take so long to look at books!!

134LadyViolet
Jan 28, 2010, 2:35pm Top

>133 BookAngel_a: I tend to go book shopping on my own to prevent that kind of thing happening although then it's the shop assistants who look at me funny when I'm wandering round and round the store for ages ;)

>132 elliepotten: Ellie I may have to read that one for my February du Maurier since it's got my name in the title :)

135richardderus
Jan 28, 2010, 10:27pm Top

I dare to insert a Du Maurier comment here...The Glass-Blowers is a fascinating book and a great example of how adept Du Maurier was at building suspense from the seemingly quotidian event.

Dating Advice from an Old Man: Arrange to meet a date at the local big bookstore. If s/he's never been inside it before, there's probably little hope of a match being made; if s/he's willing to troop around behind you, sighing in boredom, RUN!; if s/he's running around, eagerly bringing books to you and demanding to know if you've read it yet, propose on the spot.

That is all. Carry on.

136alcottacre
Jan 29, 2010, 3:37am Top

#135: I am happily married, Richard, so I will skip the dating advice, but I will take up your recommendation of The Glass-Blowers, a Du Maurier that I have not read. Thanks!

137LadyViolet
Jan 29, 2010, 7:30am Top

>135 richardderus: I shall have to line up The Glass-Blowers for my March du Maurier methinks :)

I'm very lucky that my boyfriend is an English student so he routinely has to buy books for his course and he is just as ocd about matching books covers as I am so he has *no* problem with traipsing around numerous bookstores for hours, as long as we have enough carrying capacity between it's all good :D

I will have to put up the three reviews for my recent reads later as I'm starting to fall behind :O

138richardderus
Jan 29, 2010, 11:19am Top

>136 alcottacre: It's an equally good test for friends, Stasia...and your daughters could use a heads-up.

>137 LadyViolet: Fortunate you! But I am not understand..."matching books covers" is meaning what please?

139JessicaLouise23
Jan 29, 2010, 12:30pm Top

>135 richardderus: I like that! At least we know we pass the friendship test for that one Rach! Seriously your the only person I can go book shopping with everyone else moans at me to hurry up but ah the fun we have! And yes hurry along with these reviews I want to know your thoughts on fallen!

140elliepotten
Jan 30, 2010, 8:57am Top

See, this is why my ex and I would never have worked out. The only things he read were lad-mags and video game books (the ones with all the characters and cheats and stuff in). I used to go bookshopping with my English-student housemate, or I'd let my boyf go sporty shopping in the rugby shop opposite. How he managed to spend the same amount of time browsing rugby shirts in a tiny shop as I did the books in an entire bookshop I'll never know... :-)

141LadyViolet
Jan 30, 2010, 9:04am Top

>Richard - gah just because I have dodgy grammar sometimes! *indignant sniff*

>Jess - Absolutely! OH the giggles we get into, and it's never helpful to our bank balances as we're always egging each other on to buy that book we *really, really want* even though we shouldn't :D *wistful sigh* good times, March needs to hurry up!

Ok today (I refrain from saying this morning cos it isn't any more - i got up a tad late) is uber review time because I've racked up 5 backlogged reviews cos I keep reading the damn things too fast to catch up. So here we go!

17. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
I picked this up by extreme good luck in my local Oxfam bookshop for a shocking £1.99! It's a hardback book, only released last year and cos some berk sliced the slip cover an inch or two they gave it to a charity shop! I was gobsmacked and grabbed it and basically ran out the shop cackling with glee at my bargain.
I read it that evening and what a cracking read! Westerfeld has written a brilliant Steampunk novel based on an alternate version of World War One. In this world Charles Darwin not only discovered evolution but also DNA and the ability to cut and splice together different animals DNA to create all sorts of strange creatures to use in warfare as well as everyday life. So the British use the Darwinist weapons against the opposition who are nicknamed the Clankers as they use metal for all their weapons and vehicles. They've created walkers (a la Star Wars) and massive multi-legged battle ships which lumber about Europe and they also use zeppelins and airplanes to fight against the Darwinists enormous living airships.
In the middle of all the chaos of war is Aleksandr who is the fictional son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose murder is the impetus for the war (as everyone knows I'm sure). Alek is spirited out of Prague by some of his father's men to keep him safe from the Germans and they go on the run in a Walker.
At the same time over in London Deryn Sharp is beginning her masquerade as Dylan so she can enter the Royal Air Navy, since they don't allow girls. After an incident when trying one of the air creatures she ends up on the Darwinist ship Leviathan which sets her on a collision course with Alek which will change both of their lives.
*eep* That was a lengthy summary. Anyway I really enjoyed this book, Deryn and Alek are wonderful characters to read about - Deryn is a Glaswegian lass and I really liked her adventuresome attitude. I'm looking forward to seeing how these two interact in the next book especially since Deryn nearly revealed her secret to Alek at the end.
I found the idea of the Darwinist creatures fascinating and generally just really enjoyed the whole steampunk nature of the book. I'm definitely going to have to find some books of this genre as I'm intrigued to see what other authors have done.
The illustrations in this book were also brilliant and they gave a great picture of what all the creatures and machines looked like.
So yea this is getting ridiculously long- to sum up Great book, fantastic concept and very much looking forward to sequel this September. Recommended.

Well since this one review has taken me forever I'm going to do the others in another post a bit later since I need to get some things done before it's too late. Toodles!

142selkie_girl
Jan 31, 2010, 2:08pm Top

Ohh good review of Leviathan! I need to add it to my TBR List

143stephxsu
Jan 31, 2010, 5:19pm Top

Dang, that sure is a great bargain for such a new (and expensive!!) book. I just love almost everything Scott writes. Oh, and I'm looking forward to some of your upcoming YA paranormal romance reviews. I've read most of them, and would be interested to see what you thought of them.. :)

144LadyViolet
Edited: Jan 31, 2010, 6:34pm Top

>142 selkie_girl: I'm glad it made sense to someone because frankly I think my brain melted a little while I was trying to write it.

>143 stephxsu: Steph I know ! The cover price for my copy was £12.99 so I felt like I was robbing the Oxfam shop! But a bargain like that can't be passed up.

Right I'm going to try and get caught up on reviews before it's actually February.

18. Fallen by Lauren Kate
I'm not going to do a plot summary for this as I fear I'll witter on again forever.
I was a little reticent when I started this as I've read mixed reviews and I really hoped I wouldn't be terribly disappointed especially since I paid full price for it in a bookshop.
I can thankfully say that I wasn't disappointed although it didn't really exceed my expectations which were middling to good. It was fairly fast-paced quite gothic novel with pretty interesting characters and a relatively original concept for paranormal fiction. Instead of vamps and werewolves it's now Fallen Angels who are the mythical beings du jour.
While I did like Luce and Daniel I didn't really find their relationship wholly believable as it's not really understandable *why* she's so attracted to him- yes he seems like one damn good-looking guy but still it doesn't answer the question "why the heck does she keep running into him and falling for him in every one of her many reincarnated lives?"
Don't get me wrong I did enjoy it it's just that little things that irked me, mostly because they'd been brought to my attention from reading reviews. One thing that I may not have really noticed if I hadn't read a review was when Luce claimed to have had a 4.0 GPA at her posh private school before she came to the reform school. This bit comes about two thirds into the book and before this you don't see a whole lot of proof to back up her claiming she's that intelligent and hard-working to have got a near-perfect grade point average. Sorry but if Lauren Kate had had Luce working for a whole night on some assigments and getting good grades before this moment and it might not have been so "what? yeah right, pull the other one" when Luce indignantly told Daniel how smart she was. And we don't get told a whole lot about the reasons why Daniel is where he is and who he's fighting against when he's with Luce. Everything is a little vague in that area and I'm hoping we'll perhaps be enlightened in the next book.
Overall a good fairly engrossing read (i read it two sittings) with a outrageously gothic and gorgeous cover but unfortunately the writing wasn't mind-blowing.

19. The Secret Circle vol.1 by L.J. Smith
I bought both volumes of these new re-prints earlier this week and read them within 24 hours.
I am a pretty big fan of L.J. Smith's books and now that I've read this series I have actually read part of all the series she's written. I've still got some of the Vampire Diaries books to read but since it's not my favourite series of hers I can wait a while.
This quartet of stories focuses on Cassie Blake who has to move from her home in California to live in a village called New Salem on the Eastern Coast. Cassie and her mother move in with her estranged grandmother who's quite old and supposedly quite ill and not expected to last much longer. Cassie has to start a new school and finds that some of the residents of New Salem are not all that nice but some for some reason are feared by the rest because they're part of the Club. When she finds out who the members of the club really are she's somewhat surprised- they're witches.
I really liked reading this first volume, the characters were all very likeable (except Faye who's meant to be a cow) and I really loved Adam :) His interactions with Cassie whether verbal or not were so sweet. Even Nick could be quite sweet and protective when he wasn't being a moody git. Diana though was a little too naive for my liking although she was incredibly forgiving and probably deserves a sainthood for being so good.
A very enjoyable story although I'd recommend you had all the books to hand as the endings do make you want to find out what happens next straight away.

20. The Secret Circle vol.2 by L.J. Smith
I read this Friday afternoon and was horribly anti-social as I sat in the Kitchen and ignored my flatmates who unfortunately don't understand my book habit at all. But I thought it was worth it as this second volume was rather engrossing and I sped through it in a few hours. The action gets ramped up in these two books as the conflict between Faye and Cassie comes to a confrontation and there's the added menace of Black John looming. I really liked how everything developed and there was a couple of twists which I wasn't expecting at all. The one thing which is a little disappointing is the length of these books, the two book bind-up is only the length of the average teen novel these days. I realise that when the books were originally written in the early 90's YA books were nowhere as long as some are now but I still wish that there was more because Smith's writing is just so fun to read.
Overall I really liked her Secret Circle series and it's possibly tied for second place with the Dark Visions trilogy, the Nightworld books are my favourite and when the Forbidden Game bind-up comes out later this year it may join the joint-second heap.

I'll do another post for the next few reviews as I don't have the patience to write one massive post.

145stephxsu
Jan 31, 2010, 9:07pm Top

Haha, you were a lot kinder on Fallen than I was. You thought it was fast-paced? Hmm. Guess different things appeal to different people! But yes, I agree with you that on the whole the characters, and their relationships, were not wholly realized. Still not sure why books like these get marketed as the "big YA books," when they're so clearly manufactured and packaged (Kate even does interviews in which she talks about how the idea for the series came when she worked with a YA series packager).

I've got the Secret Circle series in my TBR pile! Had to give up on the Vampire Diaries, they were just so blah. Have you read her Night World series? Out of all her stuff, which one would you recommend I start with?

146LadyViolet
Feb 1, 2010, 11:59am Top

>Steph -Well I got through it fairly quickly so I suppose that's enough for me to call it fast-paced - I'm not great at picking up on things like that so I'm not as critical as I could be. I'll only really notice aspects which let the story down if I've seen reviews that point them out. I'll have to try one day reading a book which I've seen no reviews of so I compare what I pick up on with other people's reviews after the fact.

Yea the vampire Diaries are my least favourite series of Smith's- I love the Nightworld books and can't wait for Strange Fate. Well I think any of her series are a good place to start- the good thing about the Secret Circle is that's it not as long as the Night World series although I like that there's lots of stories that can pretty much stand-alone so you're not scrambling to find the next book to see what happens next after an awful cliffhanger. Her Dark Visions trilogy is also really good although I must confess I read it so quickly that I've forgotten a lot of the details but I do remember liking it :S I'm going to re-read the Nightworld books before the last book comes out this year and I'll probably have to re-read Dark Visions before the next bind-up The Forbidden Game comes out as well.

147LadyViolet
Edited: Feb 1, 2010, 2:11pm Top

Ok I *will* get all caught up with my reviews! This will be the last three for January and then I'll do a little summary for the month.

21. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
I've patiently waited for this to be released in the UK so that I could get the paperback with the same type of cover as all the other books which I have by her. Now I'm only missing Dreamland which for some reason hasn't been brought out over here yet with these awesomely funky covers like the rest have. Like all of Dessen's books this one was brilliant and is probably one of my favourites along with Just Listen and This Lullaby. I loved Auden, the anti-social workaholic and watching her come out of her shell over the summer with Eli was great. Oh yea- Eli *sigh* again like most of Dessen's male characters Eli was sweet and caring and slightly damaged by the past. I also thought Heidi and Maggie were wonderful - I actually liked them better than either of Auden's parents who both could have seriously done with a good shaking so they'd stop acting like spoilt little children and think about someone other than themselves. I love Dessen's books for just feeling so real and relatable. All of her characters have flaws and quirks which make them so fabulous and the romance in the books is not fairy-tale-esque where the girl gets the guy every time and they live happily ever after, it's more subtle than that with Dessen. That's why I can never tire of reading her books- Along for the Ride is a fantastic summer read which you really shouldn't confine to only reading in the summer as it can cheer you up no matter what time you read it. Over this year I'll most likely re-read all of the books I have by Sarah even though I only read them just last year. Highly recommended.

22. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
And we're back with the Angels now. I'm one of those completely daft people who'll go out on a Saturday night, be yawning until we get home after midnight and then get in bed and read until 4 in the morning cos I'm suddenly awake again. That's what I did with Hush, Hush. I'll say it straight off- I'll liked this a lot more than Fallen. I liked the relationship between Nora and Patch more and I just found the whole book generally better. Patch was great in that while he was smouldering with his black eyes and whatnot he was at first a total pain in the arse to Nora so it wasn't "love at first sight" kinda thing which happened with Luce in Fallen. It was more believable that as time went on and Patch kept showing up and being obnoxious and slightly freaky at times that Nora should start to hate him less. I thought the tension build-up towards the climax was fab as I was getting more and more anxious to know who the heck was behind the strange attacks and the ending itself was a great twist which I'd totally not seen coming. Overall this book was shorter, tighter, darker and just generally *better* than Fallen - I liked the characters more, the writing was better in that we got information revealed to us at the best moments for amping up the tension instead of it being withheld for no apparent reason just so there could be a sequel. I don't know if there is going to be a sequel to Hush, Hush but the ending wasn't left hanging with loads of unanswered questions which I liked. Also highly recommended.

23. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Wow... that was my first reaction after I finished this yesterday evening. I think I sat staring blindly for a while just because I'd been still for so long- I read the entire book in one sitting and didn't even move out of my desk chair for 5 hours. This book was just amazing- from the beginning I was hooked, the writing was fabulous and the fact that the majority of the book was from a guy's pov was great as we don't usually get that in YA romance books. I loved Ethan - he's the kind of guy any girl would die to have care for them. He's not your dumb jock type, he's athletic but still smart, he's misses his mum and he's a really great guy. I found the whole connection with Lena very interesting and watching how their relationship developed even against all the peer pressure from the Gatlin inhabitants. The paranormal idea was great IMO and the links in with Civil War History I really enjoyed. The climax was shocking, sad and fulfilling all at the same time and I'm very anxious to see what'll happen in the next book although it's going to be really hard to be patient until December or whenever it comes out. A brilliant book which I thoroughly enjoyed and I'm seriously tempted to pick up and re-read bits at random for the hell of it just to savour it. I think it's definitely worth the hype.

Hallelujah! I've finally caught up! And not a moment too soon since I need to go have some dinner shortly. Now finally here's a quick summary of January's reads.
Books read: 23
No. of TBRs read: 7
No. of Re-reads: 1
No. of New Reads: 15
Fantasy: 16
Historical Fiction: 3
Other Fiction/Classics: 4

Best reads of the Month
Rebecca
The Hobbit
Beautiful Creatures
Along for the Ride

Phew that was close, Safari was playing silly buggers with me as I tried to post this and thank god I copied it into word real quick before I had to close the browser or I would *not* have be a happy camper!

148alcottacre
Feb 1, 2010, 4:11pm Top

Boy, you finished out January with a bang, didn't you? Congratulations!

149LadyViolet
Feb 1, 2010, 4:15pm Top

>Stasia yea I think I went a little mad in the last week and devoured all the YA books I bought straight after I bought them. Hopefully now that classes have re-started I'll be reading slightly less and definitely not buying any more books for a *long* time.

150alcottacre
Feb 1, 2010, 4:27pm Top

You may as well devour books while you can! With your classes starting up again, it may be a while before you can do wholesale devouring (unfortunately!)

151Luxx
Feb 1, 2010, 6:50pm Top

I read a lot of L.J. Smith years ago, but I never came across her Secret Circle series (I primarily read her NightWorld books). I'll have to check them out - thanks!

152dk_phoenix
Feb 2, 2010, 9:11am Top

I agree 100% with your reasoning on why Hush Hush was better than Fallen. It's exactly how I felt when I read them!

And, good news, there will be a sequel, according to an interview I read with the author last fall. :)

153richardderus
Feb 2, 2010, 1:31pm Top

Wow...your fingers must still be bleeding after all that typing, Vi...

154LadyViolet
Feb 6, 2010, 9:54am Top

>153 richardderus: Richard- yea i'm typing with stumps now ;)

Ok it's taken me forever to finish my first book of February but finally I'm gonna review it.

24. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
This was a christmas present from the awesomely wonderful Jess as part of our semi-surprise present exchange. After all the historical fiction and YA fiction that I read in January I needed to read something completely different and a Swedish Crime Thriller fit the bill quite nicely.
I really liked the first two books of the Millennium Trilogy and was very much looking forward to this final installment. I am most definitely a Lisbeth fan- she's such an unusual and all-around kick-ass heroine, but unfortunately due to the events at the end of the second book she wasn't really an active part of the story for at least 300 pages which made the beginning quite slow. Also there was quite a lengthy chapter on Swedish Politics between the 60's and 80's which felt rather tedious and not entirely necessary (ok some background might have been needed but 30+ pages of it- not so much).
Thankfully though, once Lisbeth got a computer back in her hands then her participation in the story picked back up again. I loved the trial scene towards the end - seeing all the gits who've made her life hell for years getting the comeuppance they totally deserve was brilliantly satisfying. Seeing how Mikael and his team rolled up the entire operation which was protecting Zalachenko over the years, without them ever realising was fantastic. Although there was a few loose ends left at the end the main plotlines were wrapped up very well and it's such a shame that we'll never get to see what else Larsson might have come up with in the future as I know I'd be interested in seeing more about Lisbeth and Mikael. Overall a great ending to an awesome trilogy which despite being a crime thriller kept me pretty riveted over the 600+ pages and I'm very glad to have read it. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I do recommend it quite highly .

I'm in a slight reading funk I think after the mammoth amount of reading I did in January my brain is kinda exhausted and doesn't want to really read. I'm hopefully gonna be finishing the group read of World Without End this week so that will probably be my next review #25!

155alcottacre
Feb 6, 2010, 10:14am Top

#154: I have definitely got to read that one! I have read the first two in the Millennium trilogy and I own the third I just have not managed to read it yet.

156souloftherose
Feb 6, 2010, 12:36pm Top

#154 That ones already on my wishlist and I'm looking forward to it - from what you say it sounds good! I agree it's such a shame that there won't be any more books from Larsson.

157LadyViolet
Feb 7, 2010, 4:40pm Top

Review time! This one is a milestone read in several ways- it's the 25th book of the year, so one third of the target (well maybe a sixth since I want to get at least 150 books read) and it's also the first group read book that I've finished.

25. World Without End by Ken Follett
This mammoth book was started back around the 10th of January for the group read and I finished it around midday today after a rather silly reading session after I got back after a night out (I was up til 5am reading Part VI).
It's been great reading this in stages as normally I'd just plow through it all over one week but doing it in weekly chunks has allowed me to read other stuff in between so I don't get exhausted.
But now to the book itself- wow Follett has done it again. Pillars of the Earth was fantastically epic and over the course of the book you come to love the characters and in the sequel it was no different. Quite early on you find your favourites and you become very interested in everything that happens to them over the span of decades which the book contains. My favourites were Merthin and Caris (probably many people like these two the best), I also really liked Gwenda and Brother Thomas. Obviously there's also the ones you love to hate; Ralph, Godwyn and Philemon being the main candidates.
Although it sometimes does look like the characters are just the characters from Pillars in slightly different clothing; Merthin=Jack, Caris=Aliena, Godwyn=Waleran, Ralph=William Hamleigh etc. there are enough differences for you to dissociate them from their ancestral counterparts.
This book is set 200 years after Pillars and if the date 1348 rings any bells then you'll know that a good portion of this in set during the plague years. It was really interesting seeing how Kingsbridge dealt with all the upheaval the epidemic brought on several occasions as the disease died out and then reappeared over several years.
I love how Follett makes medieval life just feel so gritty and real, everything is so vibrant that you're literally swept off through the world and it makes it pretty hard not to carry on past the point where you'd planned to stop. All the plot threads were woven together brilliantly through-out the story and not left hanging at the end. I loved pretty much all the endings which each character got, some very satisfying and much-deserved after all that they went through over the course of the book.
Overall a wonderful book, lengthy though it may be it was totally worth it and I enjoyed it just as much as I did Pillars. I wonder if Follett will ever write anything else set around Kingsbridge? Either way this is highly recommended.

It's going to be quite mental actually because I'm going to be going from one mammoth group read straight into the even *bigger* group read of The Count of Monte Cristo although I may be a little delayed in starting that as I've got to wait for my parents to bring my copy when they come to visit in two weeks, along with several other books that arrived at home after I left. I'll probably be giving them a stupidly huge pile of books to take back home and try to fit in my cupboard *snort*.

158elliepotten
Feb 8, 2010, 7:01am Top

I missed the GR of Pillars so I didn't join this one either, but your review makes me really want to get stuck in and get reading the first one! I bought it when I read all the rave reviews last year from the first group read...

I didn't know there was a group read of The Count of Monte Cristo either! I'm heading over to check it out now, I'd been wondering whether to tackle it this year so I might be tempted!

159lunacat
Feb 8, 2010, 8:36am Top

#157

I know what you mean, I REALLY want Follett to write more about Kingsbridge, or to set up another village and write about that. He definitely has a talent for historical fiction, but I guess crime writing earns more for the publisher?!

Glad to see you loved them both :)

160stephxsu
Feb 8, 2010, 10:38am Top

The Count of Monte Cristo is really really good. As in, REALLY REALLY GOOD. It's totally worth the 1200+ pages. Amazing!! I hope you'll like it!

161LadyViolet
Feb 8, 2010, 1:50pm Top

>Steph it was actually your review of it which made me buy a copy last year- I just haven't got round to it yet :)

162LadyViolet
Feb 14, 2010, 6:32pm Top

Well so far this month has been *terrible* for reading. I've only today got my third book finished and it's been a week since I finished my second!
Unfortunately this month has been equally as terrible for book acquisitions because I've welcomed 13 new books this weekend alone to my teetering TBR pile. Although I didn't actually pay for most of them since my bf's Valentine's Day present to me was to pay for whatever books I found during my weekend in Oxford (he spoils me rotten and I'm not sure I wholly deserve it). On the train back home today I finished the book I'm about to review.

26. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This was an impulse buy thanks to the evil temptresses over in Ellie's thread who waxed lyrical over the brilliance of North and South; book *and* TV adaptation. So after I watched the TV programme on Youtube I decided I had to read the book. I started it several days ago and read it in bits until this weekend when I could devour big chunks on the trains.
I really enjoyed this book, although all the trials Margaret has to go through are quite sad it still was really good to read. The upside of my watching the TV show first meant that I already knew the basic plot and I had faces I could associate to the different characters- I particularly liked Richard Armitage as Mr Thornton (his northern accent was rather appealing).
This is going to be be one of my vaguer reviews as I'm plenty too cold and tired to do it properly I'm afraid. Twas a very interesting and enjoyable book and I'm hoping to read more of Gaskell's books in the future since I acquired Wives and Daughters and Ruth this weekend.
Thank you evil temptresses I was not disappointed :P

Now I really must go to sleep or I'll likely to miss my first class tomorrow even if it is at 11am

163stephxsu
Feb 14, 2010, 11:31pm Top

lol, I totally understand the feeling of acquiring more books than you read. You read a really impressive book, though! I've heard good things about North and South, and I hope I can read it one day.

164elliepotten
Feb 15, 2010, 9:37am Top

Hee hee, glad you liked North and South Rach - and hope you had as much fun thinking about Richard Armitage as I did! ;-)

I just bought Dear John after you mentioned it, but I'm still trying to reel in the buying for a while longer, it's so hard though! I shall live vicariously through you in the meantime... :-)

165elkiedee
Feb 15, 2010, 9:53am Top

Good to hear you have a good man there, I'm sure you deserve to be spoiled rotten.

Sarah Dessen sounds good - there was a review of a book by her up at the Bookbag this week.

166LadyViolet
Feb 16, 2010, 5:29pm Top

Right before I forget in the flurry of visitors and work which will plague me for the next few days I'll get up the reviews for the last two books I've read. I've been rather sneaky and read two very short books so I could at least say I've finished something as this month is looking to be very slim in terms of books read.

27. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
I bought this quite on a whim last month as I felt that I should try some of Le Guin's work at some point and this seemed like the obvious place to start.
It's bizarre because I can't really quite fathom what I think about this book, I read it (admittedly I was mostly bone-dead tired at the time) the world was interesting and it flowed nicely but for some reason I just wasn't all that taken with the story. I don't know why but I don't feel an overwhelming urge to read the other books in this series. I can't figure out why I didn't like it all that much because I should, a magical fantasy with dragons and wizards set in a vast and interesting world- it should push all my buttons yet it didn't. Does that seem odd? Gah I dunno but I shan't dwell on it too much as I have other fantasy books that I can turn my attention to like the Song of Ice and Fire series.
So overall, interesting enough concept yet for some reason just didn't grab me.

28. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I bought this just at the weekend on the urging of my lovely boyfriend (who was such a sweetheart and made part of his valentine's day present to me the purchase of any books I wanted that weekend- I'm utterly spoilt by him).
A very interesting little book set in the 1920's on Long Island, New York where the narrator Nick Carraway has moved from out west. His house is right next door to the mansion of Jay Gatsby who is famed for his lavish parties which anyone can turn up to and make merry. However he never enjoys his own parties much to the confusion of Nick. It becomes apparent over the mere 188 pages that Gatsby has hidden motives for his lifestyle and his dreams which eventually lead to ruin. A wonderfully written book although I fear some bits may have gone over my head slightly. I shall definitely re-read this at some point in the future.

Before Thursday I shall be getting Dear John finished finally as I really don't wish to face the wrath of my sister if I haven't read it by the time she gets here since she really wants to borrow it, which I'm glad about although I don't want to get shouted at :S

167elliepotten
Feb 18, 2010, 8:09am Top

Oh, I'm glad you liked The Great Gatsby - I've got a neat little Everyman hardback waiting for me on Mount TBR so a good review is very welcome! Dear John just arrived too, which I was FORCED to buy because of you... :-)

168LadyViolet
Feb 18, 2010, 12:04pm Top

>Ellie my copy was one of those wonderful Penguin Popular Classics which are acid green and really cheap so doubly great :)
Hehe it's hardly like I forced you at gunpoint to buy it ;) We book addicts are *very* easy to persuade.

169Luxx
Feb 18, 2010, 12:09pm Top

The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels, and I'm very glad you enjoyed it. The Washington Ballet is performing it this month, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Fitzgerald's classic in a new medium.

170elliepotten
Feb 19, 2010, 6:34am Top

No Rachel, it was definitely your fault. If it's your fault I don't get into trouble! ;-)

171elliepotten
Feb 20, 2010, 7:34am Top

Good afternoon, m'lady - just dropping by to see how you're getting on with The Count of Monte Cristo... have you started it yet? I've read the 15 chapters for this month but it's so easy to read that I think I'm going to keep right on going... Might just catch up with the GR as they go but I really want to read on in the meantime!

172LadyViolet
Feb 20, 2010, 1:08pm Top

Aft'noon Ellie m'dear I have to admit that I haven't started the Count just yet as i've had various family members visiting over the last few days but I shall definitely be starting it soon don't you worrry!
I will have to have a big update on here soon as I've got about 3 or 4 books to review.

173elliepotten
Feb 22, 2010, 5:38am Top

Ah, don't worry, you'll fly through it knowing your reading speed. If you decide to keep reading you'll have to drop me a line - honestly, I think it's a bit too much of a fast-paced swashbuckling adventure to stretch it out until August. It'd be like keep pausing an action movie every ten minutes to go do something else!

174LadyViolet
Feb 23, 2010, 1:10pm Top

>Ellie my super-duper reading speed has proved useful again as I finished the fifteen chapters last night. I fully agree with you that the pace set by the group read is going to kill me as I can't drag it out until August, I want to know what happens straight away gosh darn it!! So what's the plan? Double things up to 30 chapters before 15th March or just go mental and read as much as possible? :P

Better get some long overdue reviews done now.

29. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
I had to bump this up the reading rota on the orders of her Royal highness (AKA my younger sister) who I've turned into a Sparks junkie (although she's only actually read The Last Song so far). She wanted to borrow this before seeing the film so I had to get it read ASAP- even though the damn film release date has been pushed back to May.
So far I have liked if not adored all of the Nicholas Sparks books that I've read and this one lands nicely in the "loved" category although it did make me pout at the end and tear up a little (as all good Sparks books should).
John is one of those guys that you know would look after you and be thinking of you even if he is on another continent. He was such a lovely guy and Savannah took that for granted on several occasions being as naive as she was- when your guy is home from a warzone for only a short while wouldn't you want to spend every second possible with him? Heck knows I would- I wouldn't drag the poor guy around to hang out with all my friends.
Seeing how John, as a soldier, reacted to the events of 9/11 was interesting. While lots of people signed up to the army in the months afterwards to fight the terrorist threat seeing how many started to lose faith in the campaign in Iraq as the years went on is a little saddening. But honestly it has dragged on for quite a while so I can understand slightly how the soldiers out there must feel- to not be gaining any ground against unknown enemies in an almost endless battle must be terribly disheartening.
Back to the story- I also really liked Savannah's friend Tim, he was a really sweet guy and the respect between him and John was admirable. It's funny that I actually liked the male characters better than the female one in this book.
Overall another great book from Sparks and I'm rather looking forward to reading his new book which my sister has lent to me with the order to "READ IT!" so I'm not going to delay much longer in obeying (it's just not safe to do so).

I shall do the other three reviews later- I'm going to cook dinner right now :)

175LadyViolet
Feb 24, 2010, 1:38pm Top

More reviews!

30. Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman
Thanks to Steph for her recommendation of this book on her book blog, it was by luck that I spotted it in a bookshop while I was in Oxford since it's recently been released here in the UK.
This book was exactly the type of fantasy that I really enjoy- a young female heroine who is forced to disguise herself as a boy to be able to become a warrior (or Dragoneye apprentice in this case). It reminded me strongly of Tamora Pierce's' Alanna books which is great as she's my favourite author ever.
Eon is a fabulous heroine and you really sympathise with what she has to go through, with her disability and the prejudices that brings. Plus the mystery surrounding her magical ability makes you wonder what could happen at the Dragoneye selection ceremony. But what does happen is completely unexpected by everyone.
The whole oriental theme of the culture was very interesting and gave it quite a bit of depth as a world.
Overall a very enjoyable book and I'm really looking forward to the sequel which I think is coming out in October of this year (or at least I hope it is).

Gah it takes me so long to type these blasted reviews! More later hopefully but I am planning on watching Hairspray for the first time later tonight with my flatmate :)

176alcottacre
Feb 24, 2010, 2:28pm Top

#175: I am going to have to look for that one. I enjoyed Goodman's Singing the Dogstar Blues last year.

177LadyViolet
Feb 24, 2010, 4:44pm Top

>Stasia- I hope you find it! Although for some reason the US title is different to the UK one- it's Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and to make it even more confusing the Australian title is completely different.

178alcottacre
Feb 25, 2010, 3:04am Top

#177: I picked it up at the library today.

179LadyViolet
Feb 25, 2010, 11:11am Top

>178 alcottacre: Wow I envy you your brilliant public libraries! There's no way in hell that any of the libraries I frequent would have such a massive range of books available that you seem to be able to get hold of, and it would take them at least a good six months or longer to get any new releases in. Even then they would have to be the really popular ones to appear in the library at all- I reckon my local library back home would never have Eon unless several people specifically requested it which is also doubtful.

Since I got another two books finished last night I'd really better get a move-on with my reviews.

31. The Laurentine Spy by Emily Gee
This was one of those interesting books that I literally came across while browsing my Amazon recommendations, it sounded very intriguing and I added it to my wishlist. I bought it after Christmas with the vouchers I got but due to my going back to uni a day before the package arrived meant that I only got the book in my hands last week.
*short pause while I fetch a cup of tea and some cake*
I read the whole thing in a couple of hours, staying up rather late to do so, but I don't regret doing it (I never do really).
A very interesting fantasy revolving around a small covenant of Laurentine spies who are tasked with infiltrating the enemy kingdom's court. None of the three spies knows who the others are as they go by the codenames of One, Two and Three when they meet with the man known only as the Guardian in the catacombs under the citadel. Three is a woman called Saliel and is impersonating a Corhonase lady in the court who is soon to get married off to another noble which she really doesn't want to happen.
As the time gets closer to her wedding threats appear to expose the Laurentine Spies and Saliel herself has another secret which she must not reveal at all costs.
While being quite a compact story it is a quite fast-paced adventure- I really liked Saliel and one of her fellow spies (I'm not saying which as it'll spoil things) and I think it a shame that it appears to be a stand-alone book as it could work with a sequel- who knows maybe Emily Gee will write one?
Very good spy fantasy recommended.

32. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
I ordered three more Sookie books last week and although they came with the wrong bloody covers I can't really be bothered to go through all the rigmarole of getting them sent back and who knows if they'd actually send me the right ones then? So i'll just suck it up and deal with it. I read this one weirdly *After* I went to bed when it was already 2am- i just felt so wide awake that I needed to do something and reading is always what I do late at night.
Anyway Sookie books are always fluffy vampy fun and perfectly satisfying brain candy and this was no exception. This time Sookie heads off to New Orleans to clear out her dead cousin Hadley's appartment and ends up meeting the Queen of Louisiana who is due to get married (in the vamp sense) to the King of Arkansas. Like always bodies start appearing and Sookie must get to the bottom of the mystery before her life and several others are jeopardised .
If you like the Stackhouse books then this is another fun addition to the series.

33. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
Again I needed something easy and fun to read and this fit the bill quite nicely.
Louisiana is suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and that means that even the vampire communities is affected. But life must go on as there's an important Vampire summit taking place in Rhodes which Sookie is obliged to attend with Queen Sophia of Louisiana to act as lie detector since the other Vampires would be bringing humans with them as well. Once everyone is settled in the Pyramids of Gizeh hotel (a specifically built vampire hotel) the excitement really begins with a spate of vamp deaths and an plot by the fanatical Fellowship of the Sun promises an explosive end to the summit.
Fun, fast and full of action like always, I do love this series for what it is and I shall probably read the next book soon enough.

34. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
And now for something completely different...
My sister of all people (the former non-reader who had to be bribed to read a book) flat-out ordered me to read this book and lent me her copy which she's already read at least twice. As you probably know by now, I *adore* Nicholas Sparks and his books so I was looking forward to reading this immensely. Oh my he didn't disappoint..
Another, heart-warming yet tear-jerking romance from Sparks- 17 year old Ronnie hasn't spoken to her dad in three years and now her mum is making her and her little brother spend the summer with him. She's very resentful of the whole trip to Wilmington, North Carolina and intends on being her usual rebellious self. But a run-in with a boy called Will sparks a relationship which shall change them both forever. The summer also brings a change in Ronnie's family and she finally forgives her father for leaving just as she learns the tragic reason behind the summer visit.
This was another fantastic book and had me crying for at least the last few chapters, it's definitely going to be up there with The Notebook and the Lucky One as one of my fav Sparks books. I'm a little apprehensive towards the upcoming film which has Miley Cyrus playing Ronnie because I'm not wholly sure whether I trust her not to mess up the character who is so wonderful and quirky without being melodramatic, which Miley can sometimes be. But I may see it- who knows?
Either way if you like Sparks books or just romances read this- it's downright brilliant.

35. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Since I've got nothing done this month for my Book of the Shelf challenge I thought I'd do well to cram a couple in right at the end of the month.
I do really love the Holmes stories and this collection of 11 short stories was wonderful. One story re-tells Holmes' third case- The Musgrave Ritual and the last story is the one where Conan Doyle originally killed off the famous detective in a waterfall showdown between Holmes and Professor Moriarty.
I do really enjoy having Watson narrate these stories and after seeing the film after christmas I can almost imagine Jude Law sitting there writing out all of Holmes' cases. What they should do is get Jude to narrate all of Conan Doyle's books in a new set of audiobooks as he's got a rather lovely voice to listen to and it would feel like you actually had Watson telling the story. Better yet get Robert Downey Jr. to do all the bits where Holmes is talking and explaining how brilliantly he solved the case. Now *that* would be something I'd buy :P

Hooray!! I've finally caught up on my reviews and not a moment too soon as I really need to get some work done now since I missed both of my classes this morning by being the lazy lump I am. *sigh*

180stephxsu
Feb 25, 2010, 3:26pm Top

Wow, lots of reviews! My eyes are bugging out a little. But YAY! I'm glad you liked Eon, and that you're addicted to The Count of Monte Cristo already. It's such a big book that I don't think I'll get to reread it again, but the first time was amazing. You should also definitely check out Goodman's Singing the Dogstar Blues if you liked Eon.

181mamzel
Feb 25, 2010, 6:14pm Top

I've recently started the Sookie series and I am enjoying them. They are easily addictive. I am also reading Fire which has another young woman who can not only read minds but influence people with mind control. Too many telepaths in my reading these days.

182LadyViolet
Feb 25, 2010, 6:39pm Top

>181 mamzel: Mamzel Oh I loved Fire! I can't wait for Kristin's next book and I'll probably re-read Fire at some point this year as I really enjoyed it.

>180 stephxsu: Steph - yea I fell a bit behind so thought I'd whack all the reviews into one post, probably not the best idea I've ever had hehe. I'm going to read some more of Monte Cristo tonight as I can't hold back for the pace set by the group read, I'll most likely read up to Chapter 30 and then switch to another book.

183barefootlibrarian
Feb 25, 2010, 8:52pm Top

I really enjoy your reviews! And seriously, how do you read all of this so quickly?
Also...I think your thread has caused my TBR pile to explode. In a good way, of course. :)

184LadyViolet
Feb 26, 2010, 9:14am Top

>Barefoot Why thank you! Most of the time I'm rambling but I'm glad people like my reviews :) I have a stupid habit of going to bed far too late and then reading until 3am which considering I have to get up for university classes is not a clever thing to be doing really. But I really can't stop myself as I'm most awake late at night and the fact that I'm a pretty speedy reader helps a great deal ;)
Oh any additions to TBR piles are good right? Of course it's not good on the old bank balance hehe.

185sibyx
Feb 26, 2010, 10:08am Top

Every now and then I randomly read the thread of someone on 75 and today I landed on yours..... and it doesn't seem fair to go away without saying hello. I love what you are reading and writing and discovering and how marvelous it is for you that the reading adventure is just picking up more and more steam. And also that you have LT and a wide, almost infinite group of friends of all ages to converse with about your reading!

186elliepotten
Feb 27, 2010, 10:47am Top

Good grief woman, I leave you alone for TEN MINUTES and you've read another pile of books. :-)

Glad Dear John was good, since I bought it after all the chatter over here! I just read my first Sookie Stackhouse book, with pizza and chocolate buttons, on my days off last week - and promptly ordered the next one to read this week with more junk food. Loved it - and spent about an hour afterwards watching YouTube videos of my favourite bits from series 1! :-)

I've taken a BRIEF break from The Count of Monte Cristo to try and finish up this psychiatric memoir-critique thing I've been scratching away at since before Christmas - but once that's done it'll be full steam ahead!

187LadyViolet
Feb 27, 2010, 11:02am Top

>Ellie hehe yea I've gone a little mental in this last week of February so I wouldn't have such a piddly amount of books read as it irritates me (i'm a tad OCD like that).

I hope you enjoy the next Sookie book, I really like the series even though it is pure fluff but I think it's "better" fluff than the House of Night series- less ridiculous angsty boy dramas. And now I have a massive craving for Cadbury buttons *note to self buy some while out*

Yea I took a break from Monte Cristo last night and devoured all of My Cousin Rachel for my BotS challenge. Tonight though it's back to Edmond as I can't leave him alone! :P

188elliepotten
Edited: Feb 27, 2010, 11:08am Top

Oh, and I finally stopped wavering and joined in the BOTS challenge! (the link's on my page and threads). It'll be interesting to see how many 'older' books I get read compared to being tempted by nice new shiny ones...

P.S. Cadbury's GIANT buttons - bigger pack! ;-)
P.P.S. You devoured the WHOLE of My Cousin Rachel in one night?!

189stephxsu
Feb 27, 2010, 11:18am Top

Rachel, and here I thought *I* was the only college-age student who goes to bed late and still stays up until 3am reading! We're twins. :)

190LadyViolet
Feb 27, 2010, 1:19pm Top

>Ellie - alas the buttons I bought were the normal size as that was all I could find in poundland :P *cough* erm yea I did took me from maybe half 11 until 3am sometimes I worry myself with how fast I'm reading.

Steph- indeed we are ;) Although last July I did even worse and actually stayed up until 6:30am re-reading the fifth Harry Potter book as I was determined to re-read up to book six before the film came out (I didn't quite manage it I was still only around page 300 of HBP when the film started :P)

191elliepotten
Feb 28, 2010, 6:33am Top

Ha! I did that with The Da Vinci Code. I'd stayed well off the Dan Brown bandwagon, but decided I must read it before a big band of uni mates went to see it that night. So I started it after breakfast and read ALL DAY, and was about ten pages from the end when we had to leave. I was pulling on my coat with one hand, clutching the book with the other, like 'yeah, just a sec!' Those were the days... :-(

192LadyViolet
Feb 28, 2010, 1:07pm Top

Right last two reviews for February methinks (I really doubt I'll finish anything else today)

36. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
Since I forgot about my pledge to read one du Maurier book a month I had to squeeze this in the other night before I ran out of February (seriously where has this month gone??).
Read all of it in a few hours and really enjoyed it. It was different to the other du Maurier books I've read in that it was from the POV of a man. Philip Ashley has been brought up by his cousin Ambrose and has had very little interaction with women so after his cousin's sudden marriage and even more sudden death while in Florence, Philip comes to realise that there's something not quite right and wonders how his Cousin Rachel is involved.
When Rachel arrives at the Ashley house in Cornwall, Philip's original thoughts of anger towards her are dispelled and he's quickly infatuated by her charms and sense of humour.
A very intriguing and vaguely disturbing book, we never really know if Rachel did kill Ambrose but Philip was naive enough to allow Rachel to take advantage of his generosity almost to his own ruin. I found Philip rather irritating at times as his lack of experience dealing with women meant that he often said things too hastily which gave offence and I felt terribly sorry for Louise since her feelings for Philip were fairly obvious but he was acting like a total blockhead and didn't notice.
I was somewhat confused as to what influence Rainaldi had over Rachel since it wasn't made completely clear but I guess that the general ambiguity is a feature of du Maurier's books so it's left to the reader to come to their own conclusions.
Overall a very enjoyable, I didn't like quite as much as Rebecca or Jamaica Inn but I shall be happy to recommend to people. Which du Maurier should I read in March??

37. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
I read this last night after a slightly emotional conversation in order to calm myself down so I could sleep. Yes I stayed up until 4am to read it and consequently I woke up at 2pm this afternoon *Rachel Fail*
Once again Sookie did the job of taking my mind of serious matters and entertained me thoroughly. It's interesting how the later books in the Stackhouse series move away from the sex scenes that were rife in the first 4 or 5 books. I like that Charlaine has incorporated the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina into the stories and shown how it affected the supernatural community as well as the humans, it brings a more serious note to the books.
I'm gonna have to wait a while now before I can read the ninth book since I don't want to get the hardback so I've got to wait until May or something until the paperback comes out. I'm not too fussed though since I have *plenty* of other books to keep me going until then.
Another enjoyable adventure from Sookie and Co. recommended for a light fluff read.

I'll do an February overview post in a bit but I've gotta go make an important phone call right now and then have some dinner. Later folks!

193souloftherose
Edited: Feb 28, 2010, 4:13pm Top

Hi Rachel

Glad you enjoyed My Cousin Rachel, it's been sitting in my TBR pile for a while so I should bump it up. The only du Maurier books that I've read that I don't think you've read are Frenchman's Creek and The Birds and Other Stories. I enjoyed both of those - don't know what other people think.

I still can't decide whether to try the Sookie Stackhouse books...

194elliepotten
Feb 28, 2010, 5:17pm Top

I went to see My Cousin Rachel at the theatre years ago, with Simon from Eastenders (a loooooong time ago) as Philip. Is there no escape from old soap stars?! And yet naturally, despite having had the book since that Christmas when I decided it must be on my shelves - I still haven't read it. *Ellie Fail*

195elkiedee
Feb 28, 2010, 7:48pm Top

I like the Sookie books or the three I've read, and I'm no great fan of vampire fiction though my boyfriend is.

196JessicaLouise23
Mar 1, 2010, 12:40pm Top

Nice review on My Cousin Rachel, Rachel! *snort* I might make that my next Daphne du Maurier book! Also I want to steal your book bag on that picture on your blog!!!!! Where did you get it?

197LadyViolet
Mar 1, 2010, 1:34pm Top

Tom bought me the bag from Blackwells in Oxford, I don't know if there are other branches elsewhere as I've only seen them there. But it is a rather cool bag albeit not terribly wide so if I put too many chunky books in there it gets a tad bulky.

198JessicaLouise23
Mar 1, 2010, 2:08pm Top

Oooh well either way its awesome! Excellent pressie from Tom there!

199LadyViolet
Mar 1, 2010, 2:16pm Top

Twas indeed! He even paid for half the books I found over the Valentine's Day weekend which was totally sweet of him :) I'm utterly spoilt!

200avatiakh
Edited: Mar 1, 2010, 6:12pm Top

Just catching up on your thread - you've already done some impressive reading and Feb has only just ended.
I have a copy of Elizabeth Chadwick's The Greatest Knight mainly because I thought my son might like it. After reading your Chadwick reviews I'll probably try to tackle it myself if I have time before it goes back.
I picked up my request for Goodman's The Two Pearls of Wisdom (Eon: Dragoneye Reborn in the UK/US) yesterday so pleased that you've found it a good read. And I simply must make time to read Westerfeld's Leviathan.

201justchris
Mar 1, 2010, 8:23pm Top

I thought I'd say hello and let you know I am enjoying your reviews. So far we appear to have very little overlap in our reading habits, despite lots of overlap in our genres. Go figure. I will definitely be checking out Elizabeth Chadwick and Rebecca and will probably try Charlene Harris and Catherine Jinks.

Since I am just now getting through your thread, please indulge my comments that are now quite behind the times.

I am glad you have enjoyed the Tolkein books after watching the movies--luckily introductions from movie to book are usually smoother and more rewarding than vice versa. The Hobbit is the first book I remember ever owning. I still have that original book (the edition illustrated from the animated movie), though I had it rebound several years ago.

Please do try more Charles de Lint. He seems to have a rabid fan base who collect all of his works and are quite loyal. While I own and greatly enjoy rereading Yarrow and Wolf Moon, I have never gotten around to trying others, so you have inspired me again.

Whoops--dinner's ready, gotta go eat.

202LadyViolet
Mar 2, 2010, 4:47am Top

>200 avatiakh: Avatiakh - If you get The Greatest Knight read before me I'd like to know what you think since I've got a copy of that up on my shelf and I think this month I might go back to some historical fiction since last month I only read one book of that genre. It's so odd how there's three different titles for the same book but I have to say that the cover for Two Pearls of Wisdom is much nicer than the US/UK versions. Oh do read Leviathan! the illustrations alone make it worth looking at but the general awesomeness of the story is the icing on the cake (mm cake...) *cough*

>201 justchris: Chris - Hello there! Nice to have you with us. Well it's always good to find more books that you might like even if they are adding to your TBR list ;)
I've still not got around to reading Return of the King but it is certainly on my to-do list before long (I'm trying to see if I can plan it as my 50th read of the year). I may end up re-reading the Hobbit once I get my hands on my own copy which is waiting at home for me. I was so eager to read it that I got a library copy rather than wait for my parents to bring mine. Hopefully I'll have that copy until it falls apart :)
I shall have to see if I can find some more Charles de Lint books as he does seem to be to some people what Tamora Pierce is to me - I have pretty much all her books (26 of them) and I'm *sort of* patiently awaiting her next book. I'll remember to look for those two you mentioned.

I finished reading the book I was on last night but since today I'm hoping to get lots of work done I'll review it later this evening. Also since I'm now over 200 messages do you reckon I need to be starting up a second thread soonish?

203elliepotten
Mar 4, 2010, 11:34am Top

I start a new one around 250 messages meself - you've not got loads of pics or gifs slowing your thread down either so you should be fine a wee while longer!

Plus Richard the New Thread Monster will arrive in a flash of light to inform you IT IS TIME!!! (Though when you do set up a new thread, he'll get so carried away that he won't notice and will keep writing on the old one anyway about how IT IS TIME!!!)... ;-)

204richardderus
Mar 4, 2010, 11:40am Top

>203 elliepotten: *ahem*

I am still able to read, Miss Eleanor Potten, and can quite easily find a plane to errr...uhhh...whichever little place it is you are...and thwack you soundly!

>202 LadyViolet: Vi darling, ignore the ill-mannered lout-ette. I use a ~250 count because that's when our brethren and sistern who use dial-up seem to have to wait forEVer for threads to load. Lots of GIFs, do it at 200.

205LadyViolet
Mar 4, 2010, 12:11pm Top

>Ellie/Richard *snort* I was wondering if I was going to receive an imperial command in due course to begin a new thread like Stasia did for her fifth(!!) thread ;-)

So I'll carry on to 250ish and then start up the new one.

I'll be back later this evening to catch up reviews since a visit to the library has meant I've read 3 books in very quick succession :S

206alcottacre
Mar 4, 2010, 11:54pm Top

Richard is very good at waving those imperial commands around I will give him that!

207LadyViolet
Edited: Mar 5, 2010, 5:37pm Top

Ok *now* it's review time!! I'm now five behind so I'd better shake my tail feathers and get them done before I read anything else.

38. Sabriel by Garth Nix
I actually read this last year for my 50 Book challenge but I've since acquired my own copy and I fancied a simple re-read the other night so I picked this up.
I'll not bother doing a whole proper review of it again since my review from last year can be found here - How freaky is it that it was the 38th book I recorded last year and it's the 38th again this year?!?!
The second time around it was still just as enjoyable and I noticed that it says Mogget is a white cat which I'm sure I didn't spot before, for some reason I thought he was a black cat being magical and little on the dark side and whatnot. So that was fun realising things I didn't notice the first time. Still haven't got around to finding copies of the other two books so I think I'll have to get on that soon enough maybe this summer when the group reads start of the trilogy.

39. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
First Percy Jackson book- Saw this bandied about as a good fun read in the YA thread of this group and when I saw it in my public library I decided to give it a go.
I really quite enjoyed it, fun fast-paced adventure story with a really interesting mythology. Loved how the Gods were described; Ares as a mean, tough Biker dude, Hades as a pale haughty villain-type who whines about his expenses, Poseidon as a beachcomber hermit guy.
I rather liked Percy's snarky sense of humour and I found Grover terribly amusing with his supply of metal cans to eat. I'm wondering what will happen in the future between Percy and Annabeth because I couldn't quite figure out how much older she was supposed to be than Percy.
Although I did figure out who the person mentioned by the Oracle was *loong* before Percy did I enjoyed the ending and I'm looking forward to reading the second book since people have said that the books get better as the series progresses and it'll be interesting to see Percy mature.
Overall good, fun read recommended.

40. The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
Another find in my public library, I'd heard about Zoe Marriott on Steph's thread from last year (sheesh I sound like a stalker :P) and when I spotted this I thought it sounded up my street and took it home with me.
A lovely story which reminded me strongly of Shannon Hale's books with the fairytale-esque worlds and magic. Alexandra is the youngest child and only daughter of the King and from a very early age is taught about herbs and healing by her mother who is a reputed "Cunning woman" in the Kingdom. As she grows older her father is less tolerant of what her mother is teaching her so they must carry on her lessons in secret.
Just after Alexandra turns fifteen her mother leads her out into the forest at night to show her a place of great magical power but while Alexa is communicating with the magic beings as it were, a terrible beast attacks her mother and so severely wounds her that she later dies, plunging Alexandra and her brothers into mourning. Her father endeavours to find the creature and spends weeks hunting the forests to no avail. Until one day he finds a woman seemingly unconscious who he brings back to the palace and asks Alexa to heal her. This woman is suspicious from the very beginning and soon it becomes clear that she is an ill omen for the Kingdom and Alexa...
A very enjoyable story although it was not quite as marvelous as Hale's books I do like Zoe's style and would be happy to read another of her books.

Ok thankfully I have my computer problems sorted out for the time being (the trick is to tell the tech person to just bugger off and leave it if it's still not working after three attempts, I honestly don't care anymore). I'll do a second post with the other two reviews in a moment or two.

208LadyViolet
Mar 5, 2010, 7:12pm Top

Here we go second bunch of reviews!

41. Little (grrl) Lost by Charles de Lint
This was the third book I picked up from the library, I was not overly taken with the first de Lint book I read back in January but this one I liked much better.
I really enjoyed the concept of the Littles as I find the idea of tiny people living the walls of houses really interesting (especially since I watched the Borrowers film several years ago). Elizabeth is a wonderfully snarky character and her adventures around Newford with the other magical creatures unnoticed by the "Bigs" were fun to read about.
Overall an entertaining read and I'm still inclined to look for more Charles de Lint to read.

Change of plan -I'll do the last review tomorrow as it's getting late now and I'm falling asleep.

209alcottacre
Mar 6, 2010, 1:18am Top

#207: We are doing a group read of the Abhorsen trilogy over the summer months, so I will hold off on reading Sabriel until then.

I have already read the Percy Jackson series, so I will forego that one, but I am adding the Zoe Marriott book to the BlackHole. It sounds good.

#208: I have already read that - although it was in an anthology, Firebirds Rising - not a standalone book.

210stephxsu
Mar 6, 2010, 4:12pm Top

Ooh, I haven't read The Swan Kingdom yet. :) But I did read Daughter of the Flames last year. I heard DOTF is even better than her first book, so definitely pick it up when you're craving something similar to (though not nearly as good as) Shannon Hale.

And yes, I will read The Swan Kingdom, eventually...

211elliepotten
Edited: Mar 6, 2010, 4:31pm Top

I didn't know there was going to be a group read of the Abhorsen trilogy! Someone remind me nearer the time so I can dig them out from whichever leaning tower they're currently mixed into... I haven't read them yet but I spotted all three on sale together at the charity shop I was volunteering for last year, and scooped them up quick!

Glad Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was good Rach - I just bought it, and Jess as I'm sure you know, I'm really looking forward to it! I don't read much YA but it really caught my fancy.

ETA: Oh, and Ricardo? Sweet LadyVi also lives in this 'little place' so watch out or she might throw you off her thread in a hailstorm of scones and Wodehouse quips! ;-)

212LadyViolet
Mar 6, 2010, 4:39pm Top

>Ellie hehe it may be more an avalanche of oatcakes since I'm not really partial to scones ;) But while I'm here in Wales (the other "little" place attached to England) it'll be catapults loaded with sheep :P

213elliepotten
Mar 7, 2010, 7:36am Top

What an interesting thought... *cackles gleefully*

214LadyViolet
Mar 7, 2010, 5:46pm Top

Right since I'm in a procrastinating mood I shall get my final review done so I'm all up-to-date.

42. Gone by Michael Grant
I bought this after christmas with my amazon vouchers and although it arrived around the start of January I was only able to read it when my parents brought it to Aber when they came to visit last month. Again I'll admit that it was Steph's review of Hunger (the second book in the series) which prompted me to add this book onto the TBR pile.
A very intriguing concept forms the basis for this paranormal/dystopic novel- What would happen to a town when everybody over the age of 15 suddenly disappeared for no apparent reason, leaving all the children to fend for themselves?
I loved this book for its blend of dystopian creepiness and supernatural oddness. I found the characters to be very interesting and for the most part likeable- Caine, Drake and their cohorts are meant to be unlikeable considering their role in the story, except Jack of course who is a sweetie.
I really liked Sam as the main hero, although he didn't really want to be the person to give orders he was able to step up and take charge when the situation demanded it and still be modest about his skills. I also really liked some of the secondary characters who occasionally had chapters from their POV, like Mary the girl who takes charge of the day care centre where all the infants and toddlers are kept since all their parents disappeared. I really admired the way she dealt with the massive burden that accompanies childcare and being not much more than a child herself. Also Lana the girl who was just caught inside the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone, the nickname given to the bubble in which all these children are trapped) who had to survive alone until she met up with others from town, finding out the hard way that something strange is happening and not just to the humans.
A wonderfully exciting story although with a rather disturbing edge when you consider what these children and teenagers do to each other to gain control in the town. I'm very excited to find out more about the FAYZ and what's causing it in the next book and to see how the kids deal with being trapped without adults and having only limited resources. Highly recommended.

Ah ha! Finished! Now I'm all caught up I can go schmooze with the Count of Monte Cristo with a clear conscience ;-)

215justchris
Mar 7, 2010, 6:55pm Top

Congratulations on upping the catch. Wish I could say the same. I am perpetually behind in so many ways. Gone sounds interesting. I can't say I've ever read anything along these lines, not even Lord of the Flies.

216katelisim
Mar 7, 2010, 7:27pm Top

Oh man, I just stumbled upon you here and I'm 215 posts behind?!?!? Oh, well. . . I'll star you so as not to get lost again. You've got an interesting list of books so far--I might be snagging some of those to my list.

217alcottacre
Mar 8, 2010, 2:58am Top

#214: I already have that one in the BlackHole. I hope you find the others in the series as enjoyable as the first book.

218elliepotten
Mar 8, 2010, 9:31am Top

Gone does sound good - onto Mount TBR it goes, and sod my will-power for a packet of biscuits... Honestly, these sunny days are making me completely frivolous again - I popped into town this morning 'to nip to Boots' and ended up wandering round the market and shops for 45 minutes, buying food and cosy socks and birthday cards and *ahem* books...

219LadyViolet
Mar 8, 2010, 9:38am Top

> Ellie I know! It's so sunny here today that I went to my first lecture in my new skirt and on my way back to town I did wander round Oxfam and Smiths although I only bought a chocolate bar and some more stamps (that reminds me I need to buy birthday cards and mother's day cards if I want to remain in the will). I've gotta dash now I need to eat something else before I go to Spanish.
Out of general curiosity and nosiness - what books did you buy?

220elliepotten
Edited: Mar 8, 2010, 9:52am Top

That was what I used to love at York - wandering into town on a beautiful sunny day, browsing the market stalls and enjoying the scent of all the fresh fruit and veg, going to Oxfam Books, picking up a fresh milkshake from Milkshack (Snickers and banana, yummy!), then sitting by the river watching the water sparkling... *sigh*

You can kinda do most of that in Bakewell too, it's just smaller!

ETA: Ooops, forgot to actually answer your question! I bought Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro and Housewife on Top by Alison Penton Harper for a bit of fluff, and The Snow Flower and the Secret Fan as well. Oh, and the next two Charlaine Harris books arrived this morning too, bang on time for my days off! Can't wait for the end of today, I'm so knackered... :-S

221JessicaLouise23
Mar 8, 2010, 11:32am Top

Oooh I didn’t know The Abhorsen Trilogy is going to be a group read? Sign me up for that! and I love your Gone review Rach will have to read that soon.

Anyway the reason I’m here is because I come baring news! I've found that there’s a *LOT* of books I want coming out in April so I made a list and there’s a few I know you'll be interested in too so I thought I'd make a note on here for you so you can be saving your pennies!

The Reckoning- Kelley Armstrong- April 6th
Burned house of night- April 27th
Strange Fate- LJ Smith- 1st April
Radiant shadows- Melissa Marr- 29th April

I also have on my list that you might find interesting so you should check them out
Perfect Chemistry- Simone Elkeles-1st April
The Cinderella Society- Kay Cassidy- 13th April

and I'm so excited because The Last Songs finally out over here 1st April! *does happy dance*

and then on the 18th May Spirit Bound comes out! Eeep, not long either! Get saving girl!

222katelisim
Mar 8, 2010, 12:01pm Top

The next Wicked Lovely book is already coming out. Yay! I really love that series and hope this book has a big plot collision between the different characters :)

223LadyViolet
Mar 8, 2010, 1:31pm Top

>Jess *in a voice so high pitched it's not audible* STRANGE FATE!!!!!! :D (apologies for overdose of exclamation marks I'm just really excited)

224_Zoe_
Mar 8, 2010, 7:59pm Top

Ack, I had better get reading! After 10+ years I barely remember what happens in the Nightworld books, so I'll have to go through them all again in preparation!

225AMQS
Mar 9, 2010, 10:52pm Top

I had to come visit after reading on "What are you reading now" that you had gone crazy and read the last part of The Count of Monte Cristo in one sitting. I look forward to your review! You're having a terrific reading year.

226JessicaLouise23
Edited: Mar 10, 2010, 1:30pm Top

*comes and does happy dance all over Rach's thread* Yep so exited for Radiant Shadows and Strange Fate! I really need to hurry up and read the next two volumes soon...

On another note I miss you Rach its been too long I cant wait to see you in April!

227LadyViolet
Mar 10, 2010, 2:16pm Top

Yea I'm going to have to have a whirlwind re-read of the Nightworld books when I get home for easter :D
I know!! God how irksome the distance is! But I'll be able to show you round town and everything. It could be a month today!!

>225 AMQS: AMQS - thanks for dropping by, I do crazy things like that quite often as you'll see over the year :)

228katelisim
Mar 10, 2010, 4:09pm Top

I've never heard of the Nightworld books. . . y'all seem to be enthusiastic, what are they about?

229LadyViolet
Mar 10, 2010, 4:22pm Top

>Kate :O Really?!? Egads! It's a series of books by the marvellous L.J. Smith (have you heard of the Vampire Diaries?) There's nine stories been published so far in three omnibuses, each story involves a human and some supernatural creature (vampire, werewolf, witch etc.) and there's a romance element to each. But there's a bigger plotline which links all the books and everything is going to come to a head in the long, *long* awaited tenth book Strange Fate (these books were published originally 10 years ago but this final book was delayed so first time round fans have been waiting for aaages!)
Since Strange Fate is *finally* coming out in April Nightworld fans are just a tad excited ;-)

I've just realised my description was terribly vague, I apologise.

230mamzel
Mar 10, 2010, 4:29pm Top

Truly devoted fans!

231katelisim
Mar 10, 2010, 4:53pm Top

>Rach--no worries on the vaguities. I have heard of Vampire Diaries, never read them tho. . . but my mom is addicted to the TV show, she's silly like that :) Those sound pretty good, especially that it's diff stories linked, I like those. I hate long waits, so it's prolly best I didn't hear about them until now. Since there a bit older, I might be able to find them at HPB. . .

232LadyViolet
Mar 10, 2010, 5:00pm Top

>Kate, it's probably better to leave the Vampire Diaries til last out of all Smith's books since I find them to be the weakest out of the 4 series that she's written. Although they were first published ages ago they actually went out of print for a while and it's only in the last few years that all of her books have been reprinted with awesome new covers so I don't know what the chances are of finding copies of the original editions.

233katelisim
Mar 10, 2010, 5:10pm Top

^That's really silly. . . the out-of-print to in-print again deal, though I'm sure it probably happens a lot. Oh well, if they're not in used, maybe library. I'll run into them eventually

234LadyViolet
Mar 11, 2010, 2:30pm Top

Okey dokes, review time!!

43. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I've been wanting to read this since I saw the very enthusiastic review Steph wrote about it on her thread last year so joining the Group Read gave me a perfect excuse to get it read sooner rather than maybe 10 years later.
I know I've finished it *waaay* ahead of schedule but with a book this engrossing and me being the speedy reader I am, it was basically impossible for me to stick to a mere 15 chapters a month.
I shall try to keep the spoilers to a minimum for the sake of those folk who are being good group readers and are still within the first 30 chapters.

From the beginning I liked Edmond Dantes as a character, although he could be described and somewhat naive for not suspecting the ill will some people bore for him, he was an honest and loyal young man and I found it easy to sympathise with him. Some people in the group read discussion thread have said that they preferred the character of Villefort to Dantes in the first section but I have to admit that I can't agree since Villefort is willing to ruin an innocent man's life for the sake of protecting his own reputation. Although I will say that by the end of the book I do sympathise more with Villefort (hey that rhymes!) since he does go through a lot over the course of the story.
While Edmond is imprisoned I felt desperately sorry for him. I can't even begin to imagine how deathly boring it must have been in that cell everyday for years and years, even after he met Abbe Faria - whom I really liked- since 14 years is a horrifically long time to be away from all that you know and love.

Ok now I'm gonna get all vague since most of the group won't have read past this point.
Things start to really pick up once Dantes appears as the Count and it was very interesting to try and follow all the different characters (there's a *lot*) and work out how they fitted into Monte Cristo's plans. Some of the characters who appear for the first time in this section are my favourites and I was very eager to see how their plotline would end.
The story starts wrapping up from around page 800 or so since there's so many character's plotlines to tie off that it takes a heck of a long time. I felt that some character's comeuppances were justified, others were perhaps a tad harsh but overall it was very satisfying to see how this rollicking great adventure all turned out.
The last section of the book (pg 750ish onwards) I devoured in a late night frenzy of excitement and stupidity and I ended up going to sleep at 5am and feeling very crap when I woke up although not in the least regretful since I'd finished this superb book.

Yes it is an enormous book but it really does read so well that the pages fly by (at least with the Robin Buss translation that I have- older translations may be less so). Yes there are an almost ridiculous number of characters at some points but with a little bit of concentration and maybe a list you can keep at least the important ones straight in your mind and not jarr yourself from the story going "who the heck is this?". Overall it is a fantastic adventure that is well worth the effort of trying to hold it up whilst reading it - I cheated by only reading it in bed where I could lie it on the bed and save my spindly wrists :P.
Highly recommended!!

I have two more reviews to do soon since I read the next books in the Percy Jackson series last night (I blame the 75ers in the young adult reading thread for this) but I need to go eat dinner right now. So toodles!! Also I think after i've done those reviews I'll start up the new thread as I'm getting close to 250 messages.

235LadyViolet
Mar 12, 2010, 9:17am Top

More reviews now and then I'll be all nicely up-to-date.

44. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
I went back to the library the other day and took out the 2nd and 3rd Olympian books and read them both over the course of the evening. I'm really getting into this series even if it is rather a bit young for me. It's fun and informative which is something you don't always get in YA fiction.
This book is set a year after The Lightning Thief and Percy has actually had a very quiet year with no monster appearances at all (of course it's too perfect to last). But when Camp Half-blood is in danger Percy and Annabeth set off to find the Golden Fleece which they hope can save the camp.
Another fun action-packed adventure with Percy and a whole hoard of mythical creatures. I'm enjoying seeing how Percy is maturing over the course of the books and although you can already see the direction things are going it will be quite satisfying to know how it all turns out.

45. Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
Third book of the series and Percy is having an interesting time of things. After a certain person's reappearance at the end of book 2 the whole business of prophecies has suddenly got more complicated. Trouble is brewing in San Francisco with Kronos' minions gathering so Percy and Grover have to team up the Hunters of Artemis to free the Goddess and to find a monster which could be used as a weapon to overthrow the Olympians (which is obviously *Very* bad). There's a rather interesting revelation about a new character at the end which surprised me so it'll be fun to see what happens with him in the next book.
Percy is certainly growing up in this book and taking on a fair bit of responsibility which I'm hoping he's not going to regret in the final two books.
Once again a most enjoyable read and all this talk of Greek Myths and Gods has given me a hankering to read more about Ancient Greece since all that ancient history I find terribly interesting and one can never have too many non-fiction books right? (that's the excuse I'm going to feed the parentals if I come home at easter with big beefy books on the Ancient Greeks :P)
Now I gotta hope that my library has the last two books of the series or I will have to see if the public library at home has them so I can read them all and then decide whether I want to buy my own copies for future re-reads.

There we go all done! I'm not sure when I'll next get a book finished as I have two on the go at the moment, A Game of Thrones which is another chunky monster and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's autobiography which I haven been reading in little stints. I don't want to overdo things again and I have two essays to finish in two weeks so I'll be rather stressed this weekend *eep*

236elliepotten
Mar 13, 2010, 6:48am Top

Dammit girl, you FINISHED Monte Cristo?! I've been struggling to read it at the shop with this bad neck - it pulls on the muscles too much trying to hold it up! - and I had a couple of other books to finish too, but I've been reading it again the past few days, propping it up on the sofa while I have tea... I'm only a quarter of the way through but still loving it!

237TadAD
Mar 13, 2010, 6:51am Top

>234 LadyViolet:: My favorite Dumas!

>235 LadyViolet:: Stasia and others have told me the series gets better (I didn't care for the first book at all). I don't know...maybe I'll pick up PJ&SoM at some point and see.

238Carmenere
Mar 13, 2010, 9:23am Top

I'm glad to see that you enjoyed Count of Monte Cristo. As you may know, I am one of the Dantes sympathizers in the group read so I stopped reading your review after "Although I will say that by the end of the book......". My fear is that this promising yet naive young man will take a turn towards the darkside.

239LadyViolet
Mar 13, 2010, 1:11pm Top

>Ellie *cough* erm yea I decided I didn't need sleep all that much last week and blazed through big chunks in the wee hours. I've paid for it though in the number of classes I missed by oversleeping :S I didn't even try to lift the brick up I just kept it flat on my bed and turned it onto its front or back cover depending on what page I was reading- saved a lot of energy I'll tell you! ;-) I do hope your neck gets better soon .

>Tad - I'd give Sea of Monsters a go since it's not supposed to be anything but a fun quick read and you never know, you could like it a lot more than the Lightning Thief.

>Carmenere - I shan't say too much about what happens but I will say that it's not like Villefort and the others didn't really deserve most of what happened to them considering their dealings with Dantes don't you think?

240elliepotten
Mar 14, 2010, 8:59am Top

Pain free and well rested today Rach - I'm carrying on! I think I'll read it tomorrow as well, then it's Sookie Stackhouse and Chicago Town Takeaway pizza on my days off, and I really should get in one of my Member Giveaway books at some point... I'd be adopting your 'ah well, it's only 3am - just one more chapter' rule to get more lovely reading done if it wasn't for the whole 'getting up for work' thing! Oh, to be back at uni when I could just skive lectures and have done with it. *ahem*

241LadyViolet
Mar 14, 2010, 10:17am Top

>Ellie that is soo eerie that you mention Chicago Town Takeaway pizza since I literally *just* ate one for my lunch! Mm they're so nice even if the calorie count is horrific.
Oh yea having to get up for work would cut into my reading time something chronic but this summer I'm probably going to have sacrifice my lie-ins so I can earn money to live off next year.
Hehe if only I could get away with skiving my lectures, I only have two actual lecture classes the rest are quite small classes and my Spanish teacher knows us all by name so if I miss too many classes I'll get stern emails asking where I am :S

242elliepotten
Mar 15, 2010, 8:21am Top

Ohhhhh, you're on one of *those* courses - my condolences. ;-)

I just discovered those Takeaway pizzas last week, I just thought I'd try one since I fancied something deep pan and yummy for a change, and I think it may have to be my weekly calorific day-off blow-out from now on, SO yummy! Takes me all day to eat it, it's so huge, but it's worth it. Honestly it's so bad, at work I have, like, a pack of Hula Hoops and a cereal bar all day to last me til sandwiches or something at teatime, but on Tuesdays I'm just raking in the junk food, it's disgraceful! Hehe, roll on tomorrow...

243JessicaLouise23
Mar 15, 2010, 1:27pm Top

Chicago Town pizza is love. I'm having one tonight! =P

244lunacat
Mar 16, 2010, 2:52pm Top

Argh, now I need junk food. And I'm not working for a week or so so the calories won't get burned off! Thankfully I don't put on weight no matter what I eat but I think sitting on the sofa for a week scoffing pizza and chocolate might change that!

245LadyViolet
Mar 18, 2010, 5:33pm Top

Ok I've neglected this review for a couple of days now so while I'm procrastinating my essay I may as well do something productive ;-)

46. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
This is the first in the Song of Ice and Fire series and I'd heard really good things about it so I was really looking forward to reading it.
First things- there are a *lot* of characters in this book and the chapters alternate between the different POVs so if you get attached to a particular character you may end up getting anxious waiting for their POV to come back around- heck knows I was muttering at the book "where's Arya? god darn it where is she??"
Second thing -WOW what an epic book! It's another chunkster which took me several sittings but so so enjoyable! I got really attached to several characters, strangely enough they were 4 of the children rather than Ned or Catelyn. Bran, Arya, Jon and Dany (the exiled Targaryan Princess) were my favourite POVs to read from and I'm really eager to know what will happen with Dany in the next book after the amazing last chapter!!
I have a few quibbles with the book namely the seemingly constant references to whores and rape - sheesh we get it already no need to keep beating us about the head with it! (that is not to say I have a "ugh enough already" attitude about those issues in general but in the case of the book it did get a bit much)
But overall it was rip-roaring roller-coaster ride of a fantasy and a brilliant start to the series of which thankfully I have the next two installments so I won't be needing to dash out to find the next book any time soon. Highly Recommended.

246lunacat
Mar 18, 2010, 5:47pm Top

Glad to see someone else liking this. I have the first two (?! I think) on my shelves and started the first but got a bit annoyed with the changing POV and gave up. I think I'll wait until they're all done before I launch in again!

247alcottacre
Mar 19, 2010, 1:40am Top

I am definitely not tackling the Martin series until he finishes it. I am looking forward to the day when he finally does.

248calm
Mar 19, 2010, 10:05am Top

I read the first one when it first came out and am collecting the others. But with such a cast of characters to keep straight I'm saving them until the series is complete:-)

BTW - LadyViolet I returned Gods Behaving Badly to the library today - so unless someone else nabs it it should be back on the shelf!

249LadyViolet
Mar 19, 2010, 12:06pm Top

>Calm oh good to know I'll have to pop in there tomorrow while I'm out and about buying food (my fridge is joke right now).

Will be back later to do another review but since I've *still* got 600 words of my essay to write I can't afford to be on here right now :(

250JessicaLouise23
Mar 19, 2010, 12:25pm Top

*waggles finger* get to work Rach! Plenty of time for LT when your finished! ;)

251JessicaLouise23
Mar 19, 2010, 12:52pm Top

Argh Rach!! I almost forgot to tell you that Anna Godbersen has a new series coming out October 26 this year. The first books called Bright Young Things heres what it says about it.

Bright Young Things is the first in an epic four-book series about three teenage girls finding their way in the glittering metropolis of New York City and the glamorous mansions of Long Island. It’s 1929 and Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey have escaped their small Midwestern town to chase big dreams and even bigger secrets. In New York, they meet Astrid Donal, a flapper who has everything she could ever want, except for the one thing Letty and Cordelia have to offer—true friendship. Set in the dizzying summer before the market crash, against the vast lawns of the East End and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls will find romance, intrigue, and adventure.

Just as The Luxe books brought the Gilded Age to readers of Gossip Girl, Bright Young Things will bring the Jazz Age to bestselling author Anna Godbersen’s devoted fans and to new readers alike.

EEEEEEEPPPPPPPPP!!!!!! :D

252LadyViolet
Mar 19, 2010, 1:18pm Top

Oh yea I read about that on a blog a couple of weeks ago - it looks sooo good!! :D
Yea i know get back to work! :P Only 450 words to go! then dinner cos I'm starved

253Donna828
Mar 19, 2010, 2:30pm Top

>234 LadyViolet:: You make me want to read The Count of Monte Cristo. It may be late spring before I can get to it, but it sounds like the G.R. will still be going on then. I'm like you and would want to read on once I got into the story. I think I'd lose track of all those characters if I dragged it out too long.

254LadyViolet
Mar 20, 2010, 10:02am Top

>Donna The G.R will be going on until August I think so there's still plenty of time to jump in and catch up! I reckon I would have lost track if it'd taken me too long to read and a couple of times I had to pause and think for a moment to make sure I had all the names straight in my head.

RIGHT!! My Second thread is now up and running so everybody clear out and head over there! (if you please) LadyV's 2nd Thread

I'll be doing the review for my 47th book on there some time today but in the mean time there'll be tea/coffee and biscuits (of the english variety) over in my new premises :D

See you there!

255AMQS
Mar 20, 2010, 7:02pm Top

I'm about to start the fourth Percy Jackson book. I think they get better and stronger as the series progresses -- what do you think? The fifth -- The Last Olympian -- is only available in hardcover at the moment, so I've reserved it at the library. I'm number 42 on the hold list...

256LadyViolet
Mar 20, 2010, 7:12pm Top

>AMQS I do think that books have improved over the series, I reserved the forth book at my local library earlier and I'm hoping I can get it read next week so I'll have to see whether the last two books continue to get better or not.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2010

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