Saturday, 8 November 2014

October Reads

I can't believe that it is November already, time is going so fast. I only read 6 books this month (one being a book of poetry so I'm not even sure if it counts) and 1884 pages which is not my best and I'm not exactly happy about, especially if I want to complete my reading challenge of 90 books this year. I seem to be deep into a reading slump and struggling to break free, but more on that another time. 

The Big Wide Calm by Rich Marcello  29%
Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn't know it yet. She's got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions--and make her galactically famous along the way. When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige's album for free, it feels like destiny, like the next step on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitar in hand, Paige sets off to John's recording compound, ready to unfold her future. But the ever-elusive John, with his mysterious history, and Paige, a big dreamer but na├»ve about her footing in life, clash as much as they coalesce. Before they can change the world through Paige's music, the improbable duo must learn to work together.
A coming of age story and retrospective, The Big Wide Calm focuses on human nature and the complexities of love through the eyes of young and old on the journey of creating the perfect album.
This was the first book I read this month and probably the book that caused me to plunge into the void that is a reading slump (grrrr). I wrote I full review of The Big Wide Calm which you can read here if you are interested - it has both a short overview of what I thought of this book, as well as a more in-depth review - so I won't go into much detail. However I will tell you that I did not like this book (as you can probably tell) because although the story line was okay, the writing and characters failed to absorb me as well as being very unrealistic and kind of weird... I won't tell you too much but let's just say it was a lot more explicit (and I mean a lot more) than I bargained for. However, it has a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads so your opinion of it may also differ from mine.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle 88%
I'm sure you know what Sherlock Holmes is all about, so I don't feel the need to give you a synopsis, especially considering The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is one of the collections of 12 short stories, so there isn't just one synopsis anyway. I loved being able to delve back into the Sherlock Holmes world of intrigue and mystery. I have been slowly working my way through the series and I have to say that this has been my favourite one so far. Arthur Conan Doyle cranked it up yet again, filling this collection with even cleverer plot-lines, more mystery and, of course, brilliant characters and great writing. I recommend Sherlock Holmes to anyone who loves a bit of mystery, intelligence and crime as well as anyone who loves the BBC mini series but is yet to read the originals. 

The Winners Curse (The Winners trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski 84%
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
I can remember a lot about what happened is this book and I can remember that I really enjoyed it, but for some reason I can't remember that many of the specific reasons why I liked it so much, but I shall do my very best to express my opinions. I thought the story line was really interesting and different and it really gripped me and kept me intrigued. The writing was fast-paced, making it not only a quick read but very absorbing and I felt like I could really easily delve into the world. I also enjoyed the world-building however, I can not for the life of me remember what I thought of the characters - I feel like I had quite mixed opinions but I really don't know. There was something about it that I didn't quite like and stopped it from being a five star book but, again I can not seem to put my finger on what it was. Wow this review has been detailed.... I did really enjoy it though, I think it is a fantasy read but it wasn't that clear, however I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy historical fantasies and light dystopians (such as The Chemical Garden trilogy and The Selection) and I can't believe I have to wait to read the next one. 

A Collection of Poems by Dylan Thomas 63%
I don't know if this counts as a book, but it had more than 100 pages and some of the poems were pretty heavy-going so I'm going to count it. The reason I read this was because I feel like I should start reading more poetry and my mum really likes Dylan Thomas so I thought I may as well start there. For a little background, Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer - his most well-known poems being Do not go gentle into that good night and And death shall have no dominion as well writing the play Under Milk Wood. His literary movements consisted of Modernism and Neo-romanticism and this particular collection of poems explores the themes of creation and mortality. I enjoyed some of the poems a lot more than others - the ones I enjoyed being interesting, deep and beautiful while the others I found rather heavy and difficult to understand. They were very interesting to delve into and compare however, and I definitely want to continue adventuring into poetry, though I don't feel the need to read more of Thomas's work. I think part of this reason is that I much prefer poems with rhyme, as I feel they flow more easily and I enjoy the rhythm, but only the rare poem in this collection included rhyme. However, I definitely appreciated his work and I definitely recommend looking into him a bit more if it is something you are interested by. 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Mass 90%
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.  Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
I'm sure you have all heard of this series and the hype surrounding it, and let me tell you it definitely deserves it. I loved this book, it was so so good and I can't wait to get to the next one. The story-line was exciting and mysterious with so many different layers and the writing is fantatsic and fast paced. These two things made the story very gripping and made it very difficult to put down. The world building was also amazing, and I felt very absorbed in the world, as well as having a lot of insight into it.  I also thought that the character development was great, and let me just tell you Celeana is one of the most kick-ass female character I have ever come across, what else would expect from Adarlans most successful assassin? 

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessin 75%
Ruby, where is your mother? Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
This was the second Sarah Dessin book, the first being the Truth About Forever and I enjoyed it just as much. An easy, quick read was exactly what I needed, and that's exactly what I got. Although predictable, I really enjoyed the story-line and the writing was great. I also loved the characters, finding them relatable and realistic. Even the characters which I didn't like, added to the story and made it more interesting. It was a very addicting read which I read in a day or two and it was pretty good. My only problem was that I felt Ruby settled into her new life and changed rather too quickly, I thought this was unrealistic and that in real life it would have taken longer to adjust to her new life. 

That's all I have for this post, I hope you enjoyed it and are having a good week so far. What was your favourite book you read in October?
Love Ellen xxx

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