BlueAngelCV Books

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Rebecca has read 2 books toward her goal of 105 books.
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Date read: 04/01/13 – 06/01/13

Rating: 

Description: When a rogue Mogadorian meets up with a mysterious amnesiac in Santa Monica, he knows that there’s more to this guy than meets the eye. In fact, he might just hold the key to everything.
In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files #4, discover what has happened to one of the people with information crucial to the Garde coming together to fight to save Lorien—and Earth.

Review: Usually these type of short stories are just background to the main story that add a bit of interest but this is definitely something that you should be reading if you’re reading the main books. It’s starting to seem that at least some of the short stories are really one book that has been split up into tiny chunks.

I found Adamus more interesting in this book than I did in the previous one and thought that the story was better paced.

It was also much clearer how this linked up into the main story (I still consider Number Four to be the main character), although that may just be because I wasn’t paying enough attention to connect the dots when reading the other short stories because I wasn’t expecting them to be so important.

I found this really enjoyable but wish that it had continued and been a full length story.

Favourite character: Adamus

Publisher: Harper Teen

First published: 26/12/12

Date read: 24/12/12 – 04/01/13

Rating: 

Description: Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.
Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

Review: I was looking forward to reading this book because I thought that it had a very interesting concept but I was slightly disappointed and thought that there was quite a lot of lost potential.

The main “hook” of the book, the fact that characters can be read out of the book, wasn’t really used to much affect. We were told that the characters had been read out of a book but we weren’t really shown it happening until quite near the end.

I was expecting the story to be quite exciting and to possibly move in and out of different books but it was actually quite a basic storyline, albeit with a lightly different, fantasy edge. It was also quite slow paced which I think may put off younger readers, who it is really aimed at.

I didn’t dislike it and I wouldn’t mind reading the next book in the series but there was nothing about it which made me want to carry on reading.

Favourite character: Meggie

Favourite quote: “‘If you take a book with you on a journey,’ Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, ‘an odd thing happens: the book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it.’”

Publisher: Scholastic

First published: 01/01/03

Date read: 30/12/12 – 02/01/13

Rating: 

Description: She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…
News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)
Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)
Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.
Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.
Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty—no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

Review: I read this book because it was one of the BBC’s top 100 books and I wanted to try and read all of them. I am in no way the target audience and it’s not really the type of book of would have read even when I was.

I initially found the style and tone of the book fairly irritating and childish (which I concede it was supposed to be), but once I got used to it I actually found the book fairly entertaining.

I’ve seen the film so I knew the basics of the story. I can see why they changed it slightly for the film though because it is even more ridiculous in the book, it’s very hard to see how Mia could be so oblivious when her father is alive and she has been to the country she’s a princess of.

I have to admit that I did begin to get into the book and was very slightly tempted to read the sequel.

This book isn’t for me but I can see why it would appeal to young girls.

Favourite character: Mia Thermopolis

Favourite quote: “Lana looked at me like I’d just said I’d never watched Bring It On, or something.”

Publisher: Harper Collins

First published: 01/06/11

July

An Abundance of Katherines – John Green (3)

Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer (3)

Girls In Love – Jacqueline Wilson (3)

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl 8) – Eoin Colfer (4)

The Woman Who Died A Lot (Thursday Next 7) – Jasper Fforde (4)

A Dangerous Inheritance – Alison Weir (3.5)

Seraphina – Rachel Hartman (3.5)

The Redcoat Chase (39 Clues: Cahill Files 3) – Clifford Riley (3)

August

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller (3)

Callum (Noughts and Crosses 1.6) – Malorie Blackman (3)

Serendipity – Sarah Bryant (3)

The Houdini Escape (39 Clues: Cahill Files 4) – Clifford Riley (3)

City of Shadows (TimeRiders 1) – Alex Scarrow (3.5)

The Gunslinger (Dark Tower 1) – Stephen King (2.5)

The Kingmaker’s Daughter – Philippa Gregory (3.5)

The Long Earth – Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter (3)

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments 1) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

September

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments 2) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments 3) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments 4) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments 5) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

Shatterproof (39 Clues: Cahills vs Vespers 4) – Roland Smith (3.5)

Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwen (3)

Winter of the World (Century Trilogy 2) – Ken Follett (3.5)

A Possible Life – Sebastian Faulks (3)

The Heroes of Olympus: The Demigod Files (Heroes of Olympus 2.5) – Rick Riordan (3.5)

October

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (3)

Snake Bite (Young Sherlock 5) – Andrew Lane (3.5)

The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Story – Justin Richards (4)

The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling (3)

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus 3) – Rick Riordan (4)

The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton (3.5)

The Dragons’ Curse – JJ Abrams (3.5)

The Fallen Legacies (Lorien Legacies: Lost Files 1) – Pittacus Lore (3.5)

November

Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama (4)

Demigods and Monsters – Rick Riordan & Others (3)

IQ84 #1 – Haruki Murakami (3)

IQ84 #2 – Haruki Murakami (2.5)

Eight’s Origin (Lorien Legacies: Lost Files bonus) – Pittacus Lore (3)

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner 1) – James Dashner (3)

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner 2) – James Dashner (3)

The Death Cure (Maze Runner 3) – James Dashner (3)

Unstrung (Unwind 1.5) – Neal Shusterman (3.5)

Unwholly (Unwind 2) – Neal Shusterman (3.5)

December

The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick (3.5)

The Somnambulist – Essie Fox (3)

Trust No One (39 Clues: Cahills vs Vespers 5) – Linda Park Sue (3.5)

Letters From Father Christmas – JRR Tolkien (3)

The Abbot’s Ghost: A Christmas Story – Louisa May Alcott (3)

Boom! – Mark Haddon (3)

The Fir Tree – Hans Christian Anderson (3)

The Gift of the Magi – O Henry (3.5)

The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Anderson (3)

The Lonely Songs of Laren Dor – George RR Martin (3)

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices 1) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices 2) – Cassandra Clare (3.5)

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (3.5)

Annabel (Delirium 2.5) – Lauren Oliver (3.5)

The Chimes – Charles Dickens (2.5)

Date read: 30/12/12 – 30/12/12

Rating:

Description: Lena Halloway’s mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That’s the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.
But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

Review: I’m a big fan of the relatively new concept of releasing short stories adding background to series whilst waiting for the next book to be released. They’re never integral to the plot of the series and for that reason can sometimes be a bit disappointing but I think it’s a really good idea and a way of satisfying fans. It’s also a good way of getting insight into characters whose may not otherwise get a POV chapter.

I thought that this was a really good example of this sort of side story. It felt very close to the main series because it focused on the mother of the main character but it also gave us an insight into a character that we probably would not have had from the main story.

Favourite character: Annabel Halloway

Favourite quote: “Is it possible to tell the truth in a society of lies? Or must you always, of necessity, become a liar?”

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

First published: 26/12/12

Date read: 21/12/12 – 30/12/12

Rating: 

Description: The story of Trotty Veck, a poor ticket porter, whose outlook is changed from despair to hope by the spirits of the chimes on New Year’s Eve.

Dickens’ second Christmas book is a topical satire set on New Year’s Eve. Written by a Dickens ‘wrathful and red-hot’ at the attitudes of the comfortably rich, it holds some of the concentrated power of Hard Times and it created, as he hoped, ‘a great uproar’.

Review: I found this really hard to get into and didn’t really relate to the characters or storyline at all.

The story is similar to A Christmas Carol in that the protagonist is shown what could happen if steps are/are not taken but it doesn’t have the charm of A Christmas Carol.

In A Christmas Carol the protagonist is someone who is obviously not a good person and needs to be shown that he needs to change his ways, in this book the protagonist was already a good person and the only thing that seemed to need changing about him was that he was worried about his daughter getting married to someone who didn’t have much money. It was therefore pretty hard to become invested in this journey he was being taken on.

Favourite quote: “A new heart for a New Year, always!”

Publisher: Penguin Classics

First published: 1844

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Date read: 13/12/12 – 21/12/12

Rating:  image

Description: Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn’t like…and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas!

Review: I’ve read A Christmas Carol before and it’s obviously such a well known story that it’s difficult to separate the reading of the book from cultural idea of it, much the same way as it is with Sherlock Holmes.

On re-reading the book I was surprised by how much of it was familiar. Usually when reading something that has been adapted there are odd occasions where famous scenes or quotes stand out but with this a huge amount of it was instantly familiar.

Favourite quote: “I wear the chain I forged in life….I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Publisher: Penguin Classics

First published: 1843

Date read: 18/12/12 – 20/12/12

Rating: 

Description: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Review: I thought that this book really built well on the characters and relationships that had been set up in Clockwork Angel and I really found myself getting invested in them in a way that I didn’t with the Mortal Instruments.

I don’t generally like love triangle stories, I tend to like my fictional relationships to be more straight-forward or with outside forces keeping them apart rather than just not being able to chose, but I found myself becoming really attached to Tessa and Jem. I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed though which is a shame.

I still think that the book is fairly sexist with Tessa not really having agency and relying on the men in her life to protect her but I don’t mind that too much given the setting.

I really enjoyed the book and was actually quite disappointed to find out that I now have to wait for the next one.

Favourite character: Tessa Gray

Favourite quote: “You cannot buy or drug or dream your way out of pain.”

Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books

First published: 31/08/10