Thursday, December 15, 2011

Decision time... and Book #62: Fly Away Home

It's always a challenge to write a review long after reading a book and as I sit here frantically trying to recall what on earth Book #62 of the year was, and what it was about, I once again wish my powers of procrastination weren't so, well... powerful!

But a quick check on Amazon (where would we be without Amazon) and the story of Fly Away Home, by Jennifer Weiner is slowly coming back to me... but only just.

I'd read my first Jennifer Weiner novel, Good In Bed, earlier this year and to be honest was slightly disappointed with it (review here. Fortunately I had a glass of wine to sob into while getting through it!). I was expecting a new Jill Mansell (my favourite chicklit author of all time) or a Sophie Kinsella, but not to be. However, thanks to A Few More Pages' 2nds challenge, I decided to give her another go and she redeemed herself.... to a certain extent. 

Only problem is, I read Fly Away Home back in the summer and I can't for the life of me remember what it was all about. Obviously not one that left a lasting impression!

The plot goes something like this: regular family, husband in politics, has an affair, wife finds out and leaves him. Meanwhile, two grown daughters, each battling their own inner - and outer - demons suddenly come to realise what their mother is going through. Everything comes together in the end - just how, I can't remember!

So, decision time. Is it third time lucky for Jennifer Weiner and I, or do I cut my losses and allow other Jennifer fans to continue to enjoy her books while me and Jill pick up where we left off?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book #61: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

I love it when you get on a roll and read one great book after another. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, by Tiffany Baker was the second one in a row and I was caught between wanting to read it as quickly as possible to see what happens, and trying to make it last to savour this lovely, sweet, yet sorrowful story.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
(I also loved having it on the bedside table - who wouldn't with a cover like that!)

The Little Giant's real name is Truly. She's the younger sister of Serena-Jane - the beauty of the family, and the youngest daughter to a father who becomes widowed upon Truly's birth. It seems life is difficult right from the start for Truly as her father, and indeed the community, aren't quite sure what to do with this 'little giant'.

Yet Truly has a big heart and while she may not have a big personality, she's kind, gentle and loving to those around her. However, not all deserve it. As she forms special bonds and relationships with the other outcasts of the village, then takes on the responsibility of bringing up her only nephew, Truly comes across a secret power that she never knew she had.

The story is a slightly unusual one, but it draws you in and Truly really is a beautiful character you want the best to happen to. She's captivating, enchanting and loveable all in one and deserves to be truly happy as a result!

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions: 
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading? 
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? 
I'm halfway through La's Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith. I haven't read one of his books in ages and have to say I've been missing them. This one is proving to be a great read so far. I can see another late night on the horizon!

What did you recently finish reading?
I've had a spate of great books recently and managed to get through some of the best of the year I think. Most recently was The Girl in the Red Coat, by Roma Ligocka, a memoir about her time as a young girl growing up in World War ll Poland. Absolutely fascinating! I now have very itchy feet!

What do you think you'll read next?
That age-old classic, Animal Farm, by George Orwell is sitting on my bedside at the moment, but so too is a half finished Harry Potter so it may well depend on the mood I am in!

Book #60: When God Was A Rabbit

With a title as unusual as this, it was no wonder that Sarah Winman's debut novel caught my eye earlier this year. I was mooching around the bookstore (as one does!) and was instantly drawn to the cover. "What on earth could this book possibly be about?" I wondered.

It has an absolutely beautiful cover design, this intriguing title - yet neither really provide any clue as to what this story contains. A quick skim of the blurb and I find out it's the tale of a brother and a sister. Perfect - that's what my family consisted of.

As the story unfolds, there's a definite relationship between the two characters - an inquisitive and curious younger sister and a protective older brother. Yet they don't come across as close. That said, there's certainly a great deal of love between the two. We're introduced to both characters as children but then the story skips ahead in time to New York and 9/11.

Although various events occur throughout the story, none of these are written about in great detail and nor do they have to be. It's not the events of the story that shape these two, but rather their sibling relationship and all that it entails.

I recently read a magazine article which listed the top 100 books of 2011. Shamefully I hadn't even read a half of them, but When God Was A Rabbit featured and I was able to put a tick beside it. As the year ends, this book still stands out as one of my favourite reads of the year. It's gentle, unassuming and a novel so different from any I've read before.

I always love finding a book like this and even better when it's an author's first one. That certainly bodes well for 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A bookworm's best Christmas present

Hhhmmm, yes, well suffice it to say I've neglected this blog somewhat during the second half of the year. And despite travel, moving, more travel and settling into a new home, I've no excuse really - particularly in this day and age of communication.

Smart Women Read Between the Lines: A Reader's JournalBut I am still determined to read 111 books in 2011 and although time is now of the essence, I have a feeling I may just make it. It certainly helps that the chilly Northern Hemisphere temperatures have arrived and that the best place to be at the moment is inside, curled up on the couch with a steaming hot chocolate and a good book!

And I've read some fabulous books of late - all of which are deserving of a review, so in addition to reading the final 21 books needed of my challenge (in less than 21 days!!) I'm going to make a concerted effort to dedicate time to the blog as well.

First of all though I wanted to share this awesome Christmas present for all booklovers and bookworms. Someone who knows me too well gave this to me earlier in the year and I love it!

There are pages for books read and reviewed, novel ideas, books to read and a place for those all important lists we could do without!

You can get your own copy here at Amazon, or even cheaper, here at Barnes & Noble.