Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Top Ten Books on my TBR List for Winter

I think I should say that would not expect to finish 10 books this winter, so take this list with a pinch of salt...as in I can't possibly do it and that I'll be easily distracted by the shiny new books I'll get at Christmas (as well as a truckload of revision)!

  1. Another Jane Austen book. It's been too long since I read her and I'd like to do it again soon. The only un-read one I own is Northanger Abbey, so I guess I'll say that.
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I know the story (who doesn't?!) but I've never actually read the book. I'll try and read this before Christmas preferably.
  3. The Blood King by Gail Z. Martin. I started this series over a year ago. It's not the best, but it is good. The next three in this list are the next three of the series I haven't read.
  4. Dark Haven by Gail Z. Martin. As I said, this is a series I really want to finish. The books aren't huge but they're quite chunky. Thankfully the text isn't tiny though
  5. Dark Lady's Chosen by Gail Z. Martin. If I get this far, I'll actually be able to buy the sequel series too! I kind of think I might not like the next series of books, but I have to at least try, don't I?
  6. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. Another fantasy book, I know. But it's Christmas! Kind of the season for the fantastical, don't you think? (Well I do regardless of what you think! I shan't let any of you ruin my Christmas *glares*.)
  7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I've basically been in love (and desperation) since I heard about this book. I have voucher for this (not this in particular, but I've decided that that is what it is for) and at the time of writing I haven't used this voucher. Hopefully I'll have this and read this because I really want to fall in love with it!
  8. Paradise Lost by John Milton. I have this on my iPod (iBooks) and I flick through it every now and then. I'm about 3% of the way in (actual figure) and even if I don't understand it entirely, it reads beautifully. I'd like to read a huge chunk of this (75%) if I can't actually read it all by winter. 
  9. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I've never read Vonnegut and he's one of those everyone should read once (or so I'm told). Slaughterhouse  in the name puts me off a bit (I've a HUGE aversion to blood and gore) but I will move past it.
  10. Temeraire by Naomi Novik. I actually got this book for free when I bought Inheritance, but I expect it will be the kind of book I like so I intend to give it ago. This is teh book I'm least worried about reading.
I just want to say here, before I go, how proud I am of this list. That sounds weird, except I pride myself on being eclectic and even though there is no proper YA (I've read through my store! But is Night Circus one?) I've got a mix of modern classic, Literary classic, Fantasy, Steampunk (Temeraire) and even seasonal. 

Happy reading!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore

Won from Goodreads

This is a story about siblings who discover they are witches and have to learn how to control their new found powers. It’s an engaging read, but felt perhaps a bit rushed for me personally.

I think the start really threw me when I first picked this up. You’re thrown straightaway into the story and, for me, this requires a really obvious danger or lots of action. Instead, we were told there was danger and didn’t really see anything. After this first hiccup I was fine and the story started to draw me in. I guess for some the start would feel too slow, but I always approach fantasy with the mind for a slow start that I can relish and learn from.

The protagonists are Mia and her brother Dino, both witches (witches is more an occupation than the counterpart to warlocks). Mostly, I felt, we’re in Mia’s head and I much preferred that. The sporadic times in Dino’s mind sometimes confused me and in general, I didn’t like him. After he explained why he kept brushing Mia off, it wasn’t as bad, but I felt he had little tact throughout the events.

Learning the magic was interesting (if a bit quick) and I liked the idea that witches have different types of set skills, with varying levels of ability. The only kind of annoying thing was that every type seemed to be destined to be incredibly powerful. I’m not really into witch-lore, but surely logic dictates you’ve got to have some people who are particularly weak?

The romance in the book was another element that felt rather quick, and I had to suppress an “Oh” of surprise when it happened. I knew it would happen, but the speed it happened really annoyed me. It was, again, the whole paranormal element that I really hate. Girl meets boy who is dangerous and mysterious, someone she is warned against. Boy feels like he isn’t allowed/shouldn’t be there. They fall in love anyway; because love overcomes everything… I’m being judgemental, but I’d like my heroine to exercise some common sense: everyone can overcome their feelings in some way. That aside, I felt that he really did like her; I wasn’t as sure with her love. But the struggle he had with it, and the false bravado, is something I could understand and that made him more human and empathicable (I just made up a word!).

The wording sometimes threw me a little too. One passage was Without another word they accepted their fate and left the security of the car. The simple act was the first step on a path that would subsequently change their lives for ever. Neither was prepared, but destiny had picked them and it was out of their hands. My exact not read: "Just...what?" I don't really know how to respond, as a reader, to that statement. I just dislike the bit about destiny picked them: it just seems weird.

This is not a bad read, and at around 250 pages, it only took me a few hours to digest. I wouldn’t rush out to buy it, but if it’s on sale you might be relatively pleased with it.

Friday, 25 November 2011