This month Plum-Crazy's challenge over on BookCrossing was to read books with the theme of the four elements somewhere in the title or author. As always the fun is in how inventive we can be in getting books to fit the theme. I think I did rather well this month so if you look closely you may just see more than a touch of Air, Fire, Earth and Water related words.
19 books read so it appears that I'm still on that book binge. I'm stitching quite a lot too so some days I've been torn between my books and my stitchy projects. I really need more hours in the day.
Summer of love – Katie Fforde
I like Katie Fforde's books. I don't read an awful lot of chicklit but there are a couple of authors that I'll make an exception for. She's one of them. Her books aren't too sickly sweet although they are a tad predictable, but I can live with that. This one was fun and enjoyable and you can't ask much more than that from a light read. (this works for the P-C challenge as a Ford is where a road runs through a stream or river – hence water.
Wind fall – Rachel Caine
As soon as I saw Plum-Crazy's theme for this month, I immediately thought of the stack of Weather Warden books that were sitting on my TBR shelf. Then I grinned. I knew there was a reason I'd been saving these. I read the first three a while back but have had the next two sitting ready to read. I also have two more but am missing one inbetween. Maybe I should hit Amazon marketplace asap as I really enjoyed this one. The books are about Joanne, who used to be a Weather Warden and controlled the weather but gave it up. There's lots of adventure and mayhem and danger. I may read the next one soon, Firestorm, as I rather need to know what's going to happen next. And maybe I'll just pop over to Amazon now…
Hollow Earth – John & Carol Barrowman
I saw an interview with the authors on TV a few weeks ago and the book sounded really interesting. I looked it up on Amazon afterwards and it was cheaper to pop it onto my Kindle than to buy the book so I did just that. I've just finished it in pretty much one session, and it was a rather good read. It's a young adult book, but I've never let that put me off reading anything. Kids get some excellent books these days and I've no intention of missing out. This was about twins who can make their drawings come to life and there is a huge conspiracy going on, which I'm sure the first book only touches the surface of. It was great fun, with lots of potential for more in the next book – which I will definitely get.
Oroonoko or, The Royal Slave – Aphra Behn
This was quite short but for the first couple of pages I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to read it because of the writing style. By the third page though it just sort of clicked and I settled down and enjoyed it. This was a reprint of the 1688 edition, hence the interesting writing style, and told the tale of a royal slave and his love. One of the more obscure books on the 1001 list.
(1001 list, Country hopping challenge – Suriname)
Firestorm – Rachel Caine
Oh this was good. Like Windfall, I read it in one go. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoyed the first three of these with all the weather science stuff and the djinns and the kickass, badass heroine. Also the seriously cool cars. This one came with an even more cliffhanger ending than the last one so I'm rather glad that I did in fact do a little bit of shopping at Amazon. Thin air should be here soon.
Fire and Ice – Dana Stabenow
This is one of two free books by this author that I downloaded to my Kindle. The first one was number one in another series and although I enjoyed it up to a point, I didn't like it enough to want to get any more of the series. This book is about an Alaska State Trooper called Liam Campbell and is the first in this series. She didn't write this book until she'd got around half a dozen of the other books written and this series came about as a not-quite spin off of those. I liked this one much better and will probably seek out more of these. I'm wondering if the other book that I read was the author just getting into her stride and maybe the other series is worth looking at again. Maybe book two is better, or if not, book three. You see, I really like the setting of the books, as I'm still rather taken with Alaska and am enjoying being reminded of my once-in-a-lifetime holiday. The characters are interesting too, and the things they get up to. Hmm, might be worth a look, methinks.
Burning Water – Mercedes Lackey
Plum's theme this month is certainly helping me to delve to the bottom of the Sci-fi/Fantasy pile. I bought this ages ago from Amazon Marketplace and I can't even remember now why it caught my eye, except that I must have really fancied it as I bought all three books in the trilogy. This wasn't bad though. Lots of Aztec ceremonial magic, combined with Dallas cops, and a Yankee witch trying to stop some horrific murders. I wasn't enthralled quite enough to want to dive straight into the next book, but if it fits in with a Plum theme any time soon, I will read it then.
Vile bodies – Evelyn Waugh
Set in the fashionable Mayfair of the twenties, this is about the Bright Young Things that inhabit that world. It's witty and satirical and I really enjoyed it. I loved the names that Waugh gave to his characters. Some were rather amusing.
Thin air – Rachel Caine
This arrived nice and quickly from Amazon Marketplace and as you can see I didn't manage to resist it for very long. Well the last one did end on a cliffhanger, you know. There's just something about these books. I can't seem to put them down once I've started them. So far, I've read them all pretty much in one go, or two at the most. They're not skinny books either. This one was 474 pages but it seemed to fly by as I was so engrossed in it. There are some really poignant moments in this book, due to how the book starts and the last one ended. It seems to be coming nicely to a conclusion at the end and it does of a sort, but again leaves you really, really needing to know what's going to happen next. Luckily, I just happen to have Gale Force on my shelves…
When in Rome – Ngaio Marsh
I picked this up as it did nicely for the Plum challenge due to the author's name. I quite enjoyed it, mostly for the wonderful descriptions of Rome although the murder/mystery was quite good too. I found the language used by some of the characters to be quaint, especially when they said things like "Groovy". It's so dated now and just seems odd. I rather like this Inspector Alleyn, and wouldn't mind reading more books featuring him.
Under the volcano – Malcolm Lowry
While this also does for the Plum challenge this month, I actually read it because it's a 1001 book. I have to admit to skimming quite a sizeable chunk in the middle though as I didn't find it particularly interesting and quite frankly, life's too short to waste on books that I'm not enjoying that much. I think I read enough of it to say that I did read it though so it gets included here. I didn't like any of the characters but the places in Mexico were all described beautifully.
Tipping the velvet – Sarah Waters
Brilliant! One of my friends on BookCrossing read this and I commented that it was one that I'd been wanting to read too. A couple of days later, it popped through my letterbox. BookCrossing at its finest 🙂
As soon as I opened the parcel, I really wanted to start it straight away – so as soon as I'd finished that Volcano one, I did. I could barely put it down. It was so well written, just like the other one that I read by Waters – Fingersmith. The story follows Nancy, who starts life as an oyster girl and becomes a music-hall star for a while and then a rent boy, then an East End tom. It's set in the 1890s and is saucy and gritty and absolutely marvellous. One of the best books that I've read so far this year, and I'm definitely going to bump the author's Affinity to the top of my TBR list.
(Genre challenge, 1001 list)
Season of migration to the North – Tayeb Salih
This was a fairly short book that I read as a 1001 bookring. It was really interesting and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought. It's set in the Sudan and is the story of one man finding out the story of one of his fellow villagers who, like himself, has spent time in England. Unlike himself this man has a past he would rather forget and this leads to events in the village that end in tragedy.
(1001 list, Country hopping challenge – Sudan)
The plot against America – Philip Roth
This was a 'what if' book, an alternative history type of story. Roth takes a moment in history, in this case the Presidential elections when Roosevelt was running for his third term, and he says what if Lindberg won instead. All I really knew about Lindberg was that he was a famous aviator who had a baby kidnapped so it was fascinating to learn of his interest in the Nazis and his dislike of Jews. The facts that Roth bases his fictional account on are all in the back of the book and made interesting reading after the stunning book that I'd just finished reading. It's written from the viewpoint of a Jewish family, as I've found Roth's books are, (the ones that I've read so far) and tells how the new president keeps them out of the war after coming to an agreement with Hitler and the Emperor of Japan, and slowly starts to persecute the Jews. Very subtly at first, but it is being done, and the fear is, how much worse will it get. It was brilliantly written and spine-tingly chilling.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
I've wanted to read The Hunger Games for a while and a few weeks ago I put it on reserve at the library. I didn't anticipate getting it any time soon as I was number 76 in the queue for it. Obviously it's a popular book. A couple of days ago we went to Costco and as I was having a quick look at the books I spotted the trilogy at the bargain price of £6.99. I have no will power when it comes to books so there was no way I was going to resist that, so I bought it and cancelled my library reservation. It didn't take me long to start reading either.
It was just as good as I'd been hoping and I could not put it down. What a great idea for a story! It was so well told too. And how lucky that I had all three books as I didn't just read the first book more or less straight through. I read all of them. Two days – three books. I was even dreaming about them in between. That probably has something to do with the constant TV ads for the film though, which I'd quite like to see now. Definitely one of the best YA series that I've read.
The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
This was a fairly chunky read at around 560 pages but I read it quite quickly once I settled down to it, as it was so easy to get lost in the story and the characters. I've read several of Atwood's books and have enjoyed them all, with The Handmaid's Tale being my favourite. This one comes close though just for keeping me so well entertained for a few days.
(1001 list, country hopping challenge – Canada)
Sizzling Sixteen – Janet Evanovich
I haven't read a Stephanie Plum for a while so I thought it was about time I raided the library for the next one in the series. I loved this one. Lots of things blowing up. Lots of Ranger. You can never have too much Ranger. Lots of cool black vehicles and this time there were Hobbits. Marvellous.