Thursday, 20 September 2012

Book Review: Kismetology

KismetologyKismetology by Jaimie Admans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book as it was written by an up and coming indie author and I liked the premise of the story. I have read a number of indie books and have to say that Jaimie is up there with the best of them!

I have to say that this book is extremely well written and is an impressive full length novel. This is particularly unusual for a first time self-published author. I would even go as far as saying that Jaimie has the potential to be up there with the great chick lit writers as I have read plenty of books by conventionally published chick lit authors that pale in comparison to this one.

The story is about a girl named Mackenzie who moves in with her boyfriend a few doors down from her meddling mother and sets out to find her a man to keep her occupied. The book is very funny and thoughtful and isn’t as predictable as a lot of chick lit. There are enough events in the book to keep you interested and it isn’t over complicated with too many characters as a lot of books can be. I also enjoyed the pace of the book and how the story unfolded.

I have to say that I think Jaimie is an indie author to keep an eye on. She has real talent and as the quality of her first book is so high then I am particularly excited about reading more of her work.

If you like authors such as Talli Roland, Jane Costello and Marian Keyes then this book is for you!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Man Booker Shortlist 2012

So, today is a big day in the literary world with the announcement of the Man Booker Prize shortlist for 2012.

If you haven't yet seen it, then you can find it here.

I was suprised not to see The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce and The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman make the shortlist. I am pretty excited about reading some of the ones that were shortlisted though!

The current favourites to win are probably the two I am least excited about, Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel and Umbrella by Will Self.

I have Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel on my TBR pile currently so will need to read this before the next installment. I don't think I can get excited about a sequel without reading the first book. I will have to get round to it soon!

The reviews I have read about Umbrella have all mentioned the books unusual formatting as it is around 400 pages with no chapters or even discernible paragraphs. This doesn't appeal to me as I like having places to stop reading where you can easily find your place again and I also like to punctuate my reading progress with chapters. I will give the book a go though!

I am looking forward to giving the other four shortlisted books soon, and there are one or two that didn't make it from the longlist that I am really looking forward to.

Any thoughts on the shortlist? Are there any you can recommend or are looking forward to reading? Do you think the shortlist should look different?

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know that a lot of people LOVE this book, but it just didn’t do it for me. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, as I did. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as similar coming of age/young adult type of books that I have read recently.

I read this book after seeing a lot of recommendations for it and managed to get hold of a Kindle copy to sate my curiosity. The book is written in a diary format using letters to an unknown person. I liked this style of writing as I have read a number of other books written in a similar way and if used well, it can be very effective.

The book follows a number of characters, but is written from the point of view of a 15 year old boy named Charlie. Charlie is a bit of an outsider who starts hanging around with some older kids and we follow a year of his life through his letters.

The book itself touches on a number of subjects such as drug use, mental ill health, sexuality and death and I think deals with them quite well. I do think that mental ill health could have been expanded a bit more as Charlie’s psychiatrist plays such a big part in his life, but there may be reasons for it being written the way it is.

I have given this book three stars as although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t unputdownable and I didn’t feel as though I connected with Charlie as well as I have with the main characters of similar books. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had read it when I was younger as I experienced similar feelings of being an outsider when I was a teenager. Overall, a good read, but if you enjoy this, there are some better young adult books dealing with similar themes out there.

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A Year in the Life

As it was my birthday this week I have been thinking about what a year really is and how it is defined in different circumstances.
For example, we have the calendar year which starts on 1 January, the financial year on 1 April, a year of our life which starts on our birthday, anniversaries, special events etc, etc. I think you get the picture.

I think the year which probably means the least to me is the calendar year. Such a fuss is made each year about New Years Eve and having a good time. But to me, it’s just another day and a chance for businesses to make some money. It doesn’t really mean anything when the clock strikes midnight. It happens every day!
I know other people will feel differently about New Year, but it’s just a total anticlimax for me.
This week I was thinking about the past year in terms of the year I was 25, and whether it was a good or a bad year for me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that actually, it was a pretty good year in the grand scheme of things. I went on holiday, had a day out in London, felt confident enough to visit London on my own, made some fab new friends, went on a creative writing course and have read loads of great books. And even better, I have finally started to be comfortable in my own skin and not worry so much about the fact that I am ‘different’ and a bit of a geek. I’ve found that there are plenty of other people out there like me and that the people I care about like me as I am, not how I think people want me to be!

That is quite a revelation for me. To be able to be yourself shouldn’t be that difficult, but it is something I have always struggled with to an extent as I have been too worried what other people think of me and surrounded by those who are very ‘normal’ and basically, not like me.
Well, anyway, here’s to being who you want to be and not following the crowd! And let’s hope that 26 will be even better than 25!!


Sunday, 2 September 2012

My library - In pictures

It has been quite a while since I started blogging about how I was going to turn the smallest room in my house into a library/reading room. I have finally got around to taking some pictures of the room and my book shelves to show off!

Here it is for you all to look at!

My windowsill candles and beer bottles in the shape of buddhas!
These are my huge TBR piles and some reference books behind.

My hanging birdy thing
This is my very comfy reading chair and Paddington!
These are all of my J.K Rowling and Sue Townsend books with my Famous Five books up in the corner.

Some of my favourite books

My chick-lit shelf, including all of my Marian Keyes books.

Some more of my favourites and newer books

My collection of Beano and Dandy annuals and Steve's footy books.

Our autobiography shelf (and my piggy bank from when I was little!)

The murder mystery section!

Steve's collection of boy books!
 So that is my collection of books! I have another book case with cookery books and books from my childhood, but it is a little more messy than these.

I hope you enjoyed the insight into my little sanctuary!