Sunday 31 March 2013

Story Time - My March Books

Well that's March done with, this year is flying far too quickly! Hope you all got some nice easter treats, but didn't eat too much chocolate! lol! I have been super busy so haven't managed to write half the posts I had planned for this month sadly, so much for you all too see and for me to catch up on post wise, and I have had almost no time to read all your lovely blogs, I'm very sorry but I hope to get a little bit of blog reading and commenting in this week. I thought I could just about sneak in a Book post for this month though. So here you have the books I have managed to finish this month.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes is the 2nd book in the Mortal Instruments series, the first being City of Bones and the last City of Glass. These books are all centred around the main character a rather brave teenage girl called Clary. This is a fantasy/sci-fi type genre book aimed at teenage readers really, although isn't dystopian like many of the other books I have been reading recently. Think Vampires, Werewolves, Warlocks, Fairies and Shadow-hunters - the usually these days!
The book picks up right after the events in book 1 so I wouldn't really advise you try jumping in on number 2 as the story line is pretty confusing. Clary is trying to get to grips with the idea of her crush being her brother, being a shadow-hunter, her mother being in a coma, her best friend turing into a vampire, her dad being an evil controller of demonds and wanting to destroy everyone and all the general teenage emotions normal humans cope with. So as you can see she has a lot to contend with, but can she really escape from her fathers control, and save everyone she loves and is she really 'special'.

My Thoughts: Now I have a bit of a Love/Hate relationship with these books, I really fancied reading the series after seeing the great covers and reading the blurb which totally sounded like my type of book, but I find them really hard going, over descriptive and long winded. The first took me ages to read so I simply had to take a break before tackling the next, 2 months on I thought I would try number 2. It took me a while to remember everything that had happened in the first and work out what the heck was going on all over again (maybe 2 months was too long to take a break) but I eventually got there. Sadly this was exactly the same as book 1, they are really quite big and everything drags on a little too long for my liking. It takes me ages to plough though them and they just dont grip me enough to keep my attention for long periods of time, like other books do. But I was determined to finish it and I did ( and I will tackle the final one at some point just so I know the end of the story). I still can't say I loved it and it was't really any better or worse than the first one. But I still think they are worth the read if you can manage it.
The storyline is pretty interesting, if complex. And the action and magical parts are really great if you like your fantasy, she has some great interesting concepts.

I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars, as although I enjoy it, it really is a struggle to read sometimes. If you fancy it though you can get it on or

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Now I picked this up dirt cheap at The Works when I was up in Scotland with Jon a few weeks ago and I got it because after reading The Hunger Games a lot of people said some of the concepts were taken from The Giver so I figured it might be worth a read.

This is the first book in a quartet of books by Lois Lowry and it is another Teen Dystopia novel series (I know, I am readying lots of them!) Based in a world where a committee of Elders decides everyones life paths, from who you marry to what you do for a living and when you will be allowed you 1 boy and 1 girl child, Jonas is a 12 year old given the future job of The Receiver of Memory, a greatly prestigious role that no one, other than the current Receiver, understands. Jonas thinks his world is perfect but when he starts being given the memories of the world from The Giver he realises it isn't all as rosy as it seemed, but how will he cope with the pain of the past and the changing of the world in the future.

My Thoughts: This is such a easy ready, I wouldn't really class it as a teen novel more childrens really, although some of the concepts may be a little complicated. I read this all the way through in 2 sittings over 2 days. Book one really doesn't take very long or even give enough of the story for me and I really want to get my hands on the second book (and rest of the series) to blitz through that too. The ideas are pretty logical and common place in Dystopia novels now, ruling elders/committee/society, young person discovering more to truth/life/society so rebels - blah blah blah. But that being said I kinda really like the concept of this one - pain and bad history are taken away and only remembered by The Receiver of Memory of which there is only 1 in each life time, but how does not remembering the past affect the future, its a really clever idea although I don't see many Hunger Games ideas in it yet.

I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars though as I just don't think there was enough to this first book, and was far too easy to read. Get it from or

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This on the other hand was not such an easy read. This one is a lot more difficult to explain too. Written from the perspective of Death we follow the life of a little girl called Liesel during the time of Nazi Germany. I don't really want to say too much about this book as it really is quite good and I don't want to spoil it for others as it isn't that obvious a storyline and is quite unusual. I was sent it for xmas by my Aunt who really loved it.
Liesel is sent to live with foster parents when her mother can no longer look after her, and lives her life on Himmel Street. She leads a slightly tragic life, although finds happiness in books and her friend Rudy. This is all tied into storylines about Nazi training, Jewish concentration camps, the World War, keeping secrets and stealing books. It is a hard read in places, and can be upsetting in others, although every now and again there is a comic moment and a feeling that the human race isn't all bad - compassion for others is a major component.

My Thoughts: At first I wasn't sure about it, I read the back and saw it was based during a war which usually puts me off, as I just don't really like historical books. But as my Aunt had recommended it I figured I should give it a go, and I am really glad that I did. I loved the whole thing, even though it can be confusing and quite upsetting in certain parts and you really do feel so sorry for Liesel. You can see that although a work of fiction this is really what the lives of some Germans must have been like during the war - they had very little choice when it came to being in the Nazi Army, it was join or be killed. It gives you a look at what it must have been like on the other side, and the loss people like Liesel must have gone through. She is almost an inspirational character as she battles on throughout. 
Zusak is an incredibly emotive writer and I really enjoyed his style, even if the book was a little hefty in places, I think it all added brilliantly to the heartship of the storyline, I will be looking for other books of his.

I give this a 4 out 5 as I enjoyed it but thought it was a little slow to start and it places could drag a little, but it does make you think of the other side of Nazi Germany. Get it from or

Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

This one was suggested by my House Mate after she had read it after seeing it on one of the TV book club things. I managed to pick up a copy in the local charity shop so figured I would give it a go.
Christine is in her 40's and married but every morning when she wakes up she has no idea who she is or who is sleeping in the bed next to her. After a horrific 'accident' at the age of 29 Christine lost her ability to remember her life before her teens and early 20's or make and retain any new memories, so every time she goes to sleep she loses everything she has remembered or been told about her life. But she starts to keep a diary and begins to piece together parts of her life and her past but certain things dont add up. Why is her husband lying to her, what really happened to her, will she every remember her past. This is a drama and a crime story all rolled into one

My Thoughts: It is a great idea for a story, all Christine has to rely on is her own Diary of the past few weeks and the fragments of her memory when they come to her in flashes. I really enjoyed the uncovering of her past and little facts that don't seem to make sense or add up, and the idea that something is wrong and she just cant quite put her finger on it. Some nice bits of suspense as we get to the end and the gripping final part when the pieces start to fall into place. It really has you guessing all the way through. Usually I can work out who the 'bad-guy' is (due to watching too many crime TC programmes) but this one really had you jumping back and fore between suspects, I didn't get it until page 333 which is almost the end, so I liked that part. For me it could just have done with a little more storyline, it could have been extended further.

I give this a 3 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it but thought there could have been a bit more too it over all. Get it from or

So there you have it all the books I managed to finish in March and what I thought of them. Did you read any good books? Any suggestions of what I should read next? Currently reading DaisyChain by GJ Moffat but I am so busy I really haven't managed to make a proper start on it yet, but I'll let you know what it is like at the end of April

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  1. Such a lovely post, I like these pictures so much! :)

    Visit my blog? xx Miss Beatrix (

  2. i loved loved loved the giver. I've been meaning to read the book thief, too.

  3. Ohhh, 'The Book Thief'! Now I want to go read it again..

  4. What great/thoughtful reviews!

    I've been meaning to pick up some books to read- I've completely got out of the habit (hobby?) and need to start back up. :)

    Hope you're well, doll.


  5. ok, i really want to read the book thief!

  6. Thank you for these recommendations, I will keep all mentioned books on my mind!!!
    Happy Friday!

  7. Hi Chantele, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  8. I am so gonna read those last two books, I've always looked at the book thief and thought that doesn't look interesting but from your review it sounds like something I would love. Thanks for the reviews!

    Please come and check out my latest post if you have a few minutes spare :)




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