Saturday, 31 January 2015

Panels Comic Challenge

Just when you thought I was doing enough challenges, I go and add another one! This challenge was suggested by the head honcho of the Iggle Bookworms and I thought "why not"

The Panels challenge is a sister to the BookRiot read harder challenge but is for comics instead of books. As I like to broaden my interests and up my knowledge, I thought this was another great way of adding different formats to my reading pile.

I will say that this was actually harder to put together than any of my book challenges and that some of these choices are likely to change depending on whether I can get my hands on them or not.

So to the list:

Read a comic book from the Golden Age (30's to early 50's) - Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Sub-Mariner Vol. 1
Read a comic book that features a creative team representing more than one gender - Adventure Time Vol. 1 by Ryan North
Read a comic book originally published in Europe - Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 1: Resurrection
Read a piece of comics journalism - A.D. : New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
Read a self contained graphic novel - Watchmen by Alan Moore
Read a comic book from an independent publisher - Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
Read a comic book by an all female creative team - Lumberjanes #1 by Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson
Read a comic book about a culture other than your own - Sailor Moon, Vol. 01 (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon 1)
Read a comic book about a religion other than your own - Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1
Read a comic book marketed at children or all ages - Tiny Titans #1
Read a comic book that features a LGBTQ character - Rat Queens #1
Read a comic book that won an Eisner Award - Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loab and Alex Ross
Read a webcomic - Digger by Ursula Vernon
Read a comic book starring anthropomorphic animals - Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus #1) by Art Spiegelman
Read a volume of manga - Maria Holic 1
Read a comic book written and drawn by the same person - God Hates Astronauts by Ryan Browne
Read a collection of comic strips - Calvin & Hobbes #1
Read a comic about a non-traditional superhero - C.O.W.L. Volume 1: Principles of Power by Kyle Higgins
Read a new to you comic from the library - Supergirl, Vol. 1: Last Daughter of Krypton
Read a science fiction comic book - V for Vendetta by David Lloyd
Read a fantasy comic book - Jack of Fables: The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham
Read a comic book featuring non-traditional art - Pax Arena #1
Read a comic set in a country other than your own - Essex County Vol. 1: Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire
Read a controversial comic book - Heroes Reborn: Captain America
Read a book about comic books - How to Draw Your Own Graphic Novel: Learn All About Creating Characters, Storytelling, lettering and Inking by Frank Lee
Read a comic with a villain for the protagonist - Sinestro Vol. 1: The Demon Within by Cullen Bunn

I'm really looking forward to reading some of these titles, in particular the comics journalism, I didn't know that that kind of thing existed, so it should certainly be interesting.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

National Readathon Day 2015 (US)

While updating my Goodreads account (which I do a lot) I noticed an advertisement for National Readathon Day 2015 and I instantly jumped upon this and read the information. The idea was to pledge four hours to uninterrupted reading between noon and four pm on Saturday the 24th of January 2015. When I first read through, I didn't realise that this was aimed at America mainly and so I asked the hubby if he'd be ok if I did this and he'd look after our little man (which of course he was). I then went back to Goodreads to choose which book I was "pledging" so that it would be updated in a special bookshelf, made for that day. It was at this time that I noticed that it was American time, though it was encouraged for people around the world to join in too, as we'd already discussed plans I decided to still do the reading noon to four in UK time as it wouldn't really affect anything.

The book I chose to pledge was War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I decided upon this book as it is on my 2015 Reading Challenge list as the option for a book with antonyms in the title and as it is such an imposing book, I thought this would be a great way to read a chunk of it and make it more manageable.

So the day came, I got myself prepared with a brew (tea naturally) and a bag of popcorn for sustenance and got comfy in my spot on the sofa. I live tweeted once an hour throughout with updates on how many pages I had read, what bookmark I was using as well as showing what I was snacking on and drinking. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I will definitely join in again if possible next time it comes around!

For those of you who might be interested in how I progressed through the day
Hour 1 - page 41
Hour 2 - page 78
Hour 3 - page 117
Hour 4 - page 154

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Something To Believe In - My review of The Five People You Meet In Heaven

As I talk about books a lot, I'm lucky to have a few friends and family who will listen to me and will also give their own suggestions for books that they think I should try. One of those friends (the same one who recommended Who Moved My Cheese?) recommended that I try The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom as she had read it and had really enjoyed it. I was planning on concentrating on my challenge reads, but the premise behind this book had me intrigued and so I read it straight away.

The book starts out by giving a brief history of the main character in the story, Eddie, with a mixture of flash backs and narrative and then this leads the reader to his death. His death though sad and quite unnecessary (unnecessary in the fact his death is a sad accident, his death itself is absolutely necessary to the story) is just part of the process in the story and though you feel sadness at the end of his life, it doesn't hit you as would a normal death in a story as you know this is coming.

Once Eddie dies, he then begins meeting the five people mentioned in the title. Some are people he knew and some are people that affected or were affected by Eddie's life. Each one has a lesson to teach Eddie to show that his life had meaning and that everyone is connected in one way or another.

There were some tear jerking moments which I did not fall prey to as I had already seen where Albom was heading with the people he was introducing. This is not a bad thing as I felt the five people were perfectly relevant for the story. I will own to coming close at one point but I had to put the book down to go and get my little boy up from his nap, so this broke the momentum and build up of the story and when I came back to reading it, that emotion had passed.

Mitch Albom's idea of heaven is that you meet five people important to tell your life story and teach you lessons of how important you actually were. You will then go on to take your place as one of someone else's five people. This is a very nice way to look at life after death as it gives a purpose and a new beginning rather than just an end, I'm not fully sure what I believe in, but this wouldn't be a bad thing to believe in if you so chose.

The book was a very easy and quick read and I would recommend it to other people. I would say that at times it feels more like a self help book than a novel, but as long as you take out of the story whatever you feel, it doesn't matter one way or another.

I started reading this book on the 18th of January 2015 and finished reading it on the 23rd of January 2015.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Which Came First? - My review of .hack//XXXX. Volume 1

The last of my library books from last week was .hack//XXXX, Volume 1 by Megane Kikuya and Hiroshi Matsuyama and I have to say I was really looking forward to reading this after reading the synopsis on the back (front) of the book.

At the start of the story, there are a couple of pages dedicated to introducing the characters with a little picture of them so that you know who everyone is before it starts and you know a little bit about them. I really liked this touch as I've found in manga a lot of characters can be brought in very quickly and it can become overwhelming figuring out who everyone is and what their role is in the story.

The action certainly gets started with a bang and right from page one you are in the thick of a battle. It was certainly an exciting way to begin a story and it also made me extra glad of the introductions at the beginning.

The more I read of the story, the more I started to wonder which came first, this or Sword Art Online as the story lines are incredibly similar. They're in a video game that has affected people in their real lives due to some hidden code in the programming. There's a young male protagonist who teams up with girl(s). The main protagonist has extra "skills" that other people don't. This isn't a bad thing as I really enjoyed the first season of Sword Art Online (I haven't got around to watching the second season yet) I just wonder who had the idea first.

The story progresses rapidly as it seems to in some mangas and by the end of this volume, they had already defeated half of the bosses necessary to help their friends, I'm guessing that means that this story has only two volumes as I can't see why it would need to be any longer. I did have a quick search on Goodreads and I do only seem to be able to find one more volume. I actually feel that this story would have benefited from being more drawn out and spread across more volumes so that you could become more attached to the characters and care about what happens to them, as it is, it's a nice story but I'm not invested in any of their lives.

Overall this is an nice book with good art (and I like that they used logs instead of chapters as it is computer related) and if I see the second volume, I will definitely pick it up to see how the story is concluded but I will not go out of my way to find it.

I started reading this book on the 15th of January 2015 and finished it on the same day
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Good, The Green and The Ugly

I picked up a few graphic novels this week and one of them was Avenging Spider-man: The Good, The Green and The Ugly written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and art by Stuart Immonen

I really enjoyed this book! To me it portrayed Spider-man exactly how he should be, sarcastic, funny and annoying (to the other characters at least). The book was split into three stories in which Spidey teamed up with a different character for one reason or another.

The first story Spidey teamed up with She Hulk. I have never read anything with the She Hulk in and know very little about her, so this was a really nice way to be introduced to her. I really liked the character during this and I will probably go off and find more books to read about her, so that is definitely a good sign about how well this book is written.

The second story follows Spidey and Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) and again this is another character that I have never read before and know little about. This story I feel was the weakest out of the three in the book, though I did still enjoy it and it was good to meet another character I haven't met before.

The third and final story involves Deadpool. I am a huge fan of Deadpool and him and Spider-man teaming up is always good for a good laugh! The story itself is really interesting and well written and the villain is hilarious. Overall I think this was my favourite story in the book.

Other good things I can say about this book include the artwork being great and all the little references to real life things (check out the DB Cooper reference) which are a really nice touch and it makes you feel good when you catch them.

I started this book on the 14th of January 2015 and finished it the same day
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Minimum Carnage Maximum Confusion - My review of Minimum Carnage

I have always been intrigued by Venom and the other symbiotes that come after him, so when I saw Minimum Carnage by Christopher Yost at the library I thought I'd give it a shot and see what Carnage was like.

From pretty much page one I was sat scratching my head, Venom is a "police officer" what is that about? I've obviously missed some important plot development before this book as the Venom I am aware of is a villain.

I really was not a fan of this book, I didn't like the way it was written, I didn't like the story and I didn't like Venom being a "good" guy. I feel that the idea of the microverse could have been done in a much better way and in a way that wasn't so rushed.

I actually feel bad as I can't remember anyone else's name from the story and yet it introduces a lot of people. I'm trying to think of anyone other than the main two characters and I know there was a reporter and a scientist (because every good "hero" story needs a reporter or a scientist and this has both), there was a team of some kind made up of tiny people, but I couldn't tell you more that that and I only read this last night.

I will say that the artwork is fantastic and Carnage looked exactly how I'd imagined so that was a definite bonus for me.

Sadly not for me, however I will try again with a different book at some point in the future.

I started reading this on the 15th of January 2015 and completed it the same day
I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads

Life After a TV Show - My review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home

One of my graphic novel picks from the library this week was Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon and art by Georges Jeanty. I will start by saying that I have never seen a single episode of Buffy while it was on television and the only experience I have of anything "Buffy" is the original 1992 movie and other people talking about the TV series.

I'll start by mentioning the artwork, the style is not my cup of tea, however it is very well done. You can tell who is supposed to be who without reading the dialogue which is definitely a good sign. There isn't much I can say about the art, except for the fact it works for this book. 

The story itself starts after the TV series has ended, so immediately I knew that I would be at a disadvantage with not knowing how the show had ended. I carried on though as everyone I know who had watched Buffy has been a huge fan. There seemed to me to be an awful lot going on in just one book which is only Vol. 1 of a series and it was just too much for me. With stories about different countries, people and references to things that had happened previously, it was too much crammed into 136 pages. I didn't like how Buffy was portrayed (though I've no idea how she was portrayed in the show, so it could be spot on)as a character and found her irritating. I also didn't connect with any of the other characters, you didn't really get to "meet" any of them long enough in this book to start forming any sort of feeling or bond. 

Overall I really disliked this book, but I feel a big part of that is because I hadn't seen the TV show. It'd be interesting to hear from someone who did watch the show and then read this book to see what they thought of it, to get a better opinion of how good this book is. If you are that person, please get in touch and let me know.

I started reading this on the 14th of January 2015 and finished it on the same day
I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Beginning of Something Great - My review of A Study In Scarlet

I seem to be cruising through my challenges so far, however we are only a few days into the new year so I best not get too confident!

I need to start reading one shorter book and then one longer book so that I don't get stuck with all the massive volumes at the end of the year as that is just asking to fail. For the mystery or thriller section of the PopSugar challenge, I made the decision to read A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as though I have read all the other Sherlock Holmes adventures, I have never read the one book where it all began.

I genuinely love the character of Sherlock Holmes and I found myself smiling as he was introduced to Dr Watson and then during their subsequent conversations. It was nice after all this time to read for myself how they met and how their friendship and partnership was begun. ( I think the closest I've come to it is reading and watching Basil the Great Mouse Detective) 

I really enjoy the way Doyle wrote, I think the way he writes is beautiful and an absolute pleasure to read. Everything I've read by him is just so easy to read and you don't notice that the language used isn't of this time.

There is one thing that I will say about this book (and it may be because I was reading it on my Nook) and that is that when Part 2 began and started at chapter 1, I was a little baffled as to whether I had stumbled onto another book and that A Study in Scarlet had just finished abruptly. The story was set in a different time and place with, to start off with anyway, different characters, so it really threw me, Once I'd realised that I was reading the back story of the culprit, everything fell into place and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the reasons behind the crime.

Overall I'd recommend this book to anyone, especially people who would like to read "classics" but are worried about the language used or the way they would be written. This would be a perfect book to try and you get to meet Sherlock Holmes!

I started reading this book on the 11th of January 2015 and completed it on the 14th of January 2015
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Still a Better Love Story Than Twilight - My review of Vampire Knight

I only discovered manga last year and that was only due to a friend of mine lending me the first five books of Black Butler. I fell in love! How can I have been reading all my life and have never read any manga. I felt like I had missed out and so I have been trying to read as much as I can since then.

When I go to the library I always look for first volumes so that I know that I'm reading things in the correct order (unless I've already read volume one obviously) and this week, there were a couple in that jumped out at me, the first book was Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino. It caught my eye as my husband had mentioned that he had seen an anime that he would like to watch and had added to our Anime-Planet account and I was pretty sure it was the same name. (I have confirmed that it was that since).

I will start by saying that the art throughout the book is gorgeous. I genuinely love how manga is drawn and the fact that almost everyone is beautiful. It makes a nice change to look at something that is pretty.

As to the story, I have to admit I struggled with following what was going on in a lot of panels and had to repeat some pages more than once to ensure that I knew what had happened before moving on. I think something may have been lost in the translation as the English in some scenes is just not very good. I do genuinely believe there is a good story in there somewhere but I'm not 100% sure yet as to whether I'm going to stick with this series.

From what I have seen so far, I love the characters Kaname and Zero as they both seem to have really interesting back stories and I would actually look forward to going into greater detail with them. Yuki however, the main female, is painful! Yuki seems to be so strong for about 5 minutes and then the rest of the time, she's a helpless little girl. I hope if I do choose to continue that she comes into her own and develops a more definite character.

As an overall view of this so far, the story is fast paced but has got nowhere fast.

I started reading this book on the 12th of January 2015 and completed it the same day
I gave this book a 3 star rating on Goodreads

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Something a Little Different - My review of Hinterkind Vol 1: The Waking

Since last year I have been working my way through the graphic novel and manga sections at the library. I was genuinely amazed that we even had these sections as I live in a relatively small town. On Monday, I went to hand in my read books and pick up a new stash (I'm sure you know how libraries actually work). One of the books I picked up this time was Hinterkind Vol.1: The Waking World by Ian Edginton and illustrations by Francesco Trifogli. I have heard nothing but good things about this series on Twitter and other social media, so my expectations were very high and yet when I came to write my review, it has been slated pretty much across the board on Goodreads. Definitely seems to be a Marmite kind of read!

Looking at the book, the artwork is done really well, but feels primitive, this however as you read through matches the story and the way in which it is written. The artist has done a great job of matching the tone and mood of the writing.

The story itself is an eclectic mish-mash of post apocalyptic settings with references both to "current" modern time and fairy tales. It took me quite a while to get used to these things being used all together, so I am glad that I read this as a graphic novel instead of individual comics as I probably would have given up after issue 2. At one point a giant type creature utters the line "FFFIFUFHM IZ SMEHLL BLUD OVA HUMUN!" and this nearly finished it for me there and then. I love fairy tales, I love post apocalyptic stories, but these two combined just felt very jarring to me.

I stuck with it and I have to say that I am glad that I did. No it wasn't the best thing that I have ever read (or anywhere even close), but it was certainly interesting to the point that I would like to see where they go with the story. There are no punches held with characters coming and going (though I think we've met all the main protagonists now) and there are side stories which I feel will be good to follow. If I see the next instalment in the library I will definitely pick it up, it's not something I would go out and personally buy though.

I started reading this on the 12th of January and finished it on the same day
I gave the book a (low) 4 star rating on Goodreads

Monday, 12 January 2015

"E I E I O" - My review of Animal Farm

I originally chose this book for the "book you can finish in a day" category for the PopSugar challenge, but I decided it would also be a good choice for The Classics Club challenge too.

I have owned Animal Farm by George Orwell for years and at one point it spent about a year on my bathroom floor as I was planning on reading it while soaking in the bath, but just kept choosing other books instead. 

Before I continue, I should say that there are spoilers in my review, if you've read the book, then please do carry on reading, if not then go away, read the book and then come back and carry on reading,

The book is written exceptionally well and I'd say that the language used stands the test of time and if you read it without knowing how old the book was, you wouldn't realise that it wasn't a modern story. However there is something I hate in this book and that  is the songs! Oh how I hate songs in books, I always skip over them. I skipped them in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I just don't read songs in books unless I absolutely have to and even then its begrudgingly. 

About the actual story, I know its based on the Soviet Union at the time but in animal form and that obviously this is a story, but there were just some things that I felt were "off". I feel that after the initial speech that Major gave about having a dream and that animals should rise up and life would be better etc, he mentioned that no matter what, when animals died they were sent to the knackers and yet when he dies a few days later, he was buried nicely under a tree on the farm grounds. To me this should have raised questions immediately as to what he had said about the way they were being treated and should have caused doubts in the minds of the more intelligent animals. 

Another thing that I could not quite get my head around was the fact that Farmer Jones would just abandon his farm whether his animals had attacked or that he was an alcoholic. It was stated that he had a shot gun from the beginning and even if he didn't have it on him when they attacked and he had to run off, any normal human being, let alone a farmer, would have come back with others if necessary and whipped the animals back into shape or had them slaughtered to make money off their meat. I can't see why a human would give up their home and lively hood over one case of crazy animals. Yes the way he was treating the animals and the farm itself was terrible and no he did not deserve to have any of it, but that wouldn't change his own mind about the fact that he owned the property. 

Around two thirds of the way into the book, you cold be mistaken for thinking that you were reading 1984 (a book which I love) due to the "big brother" atmosphere and the regimented way things were being run. By this stage I was just waiting for the end as I felt the story had pretty much run its course and all I wanted to see was which way Orwell would go with the ending. When it did finally finish, the story was just left hanging, which I guess must have been the intention to show that life goes on and that nothing has really changed, but I would have liked something a little more definite or even, as it is a story, a happier ending. 

There were a few characters in the book that I really liked, but none as much as the big strong work horse, Boxer. He was such a solid character, he was loyal and hard working and cared for everyone, putting their needs before his own. I expected his death for most of the book and when it did happen, I was upset (though not to the point of tears). I did feel more could have been done with his death and that more of a rebellion would have arisen from what occurred, but it was all smoothed over within two sentences. 

All in all, this is a good book and one that I would definitely recommend to other people. It only took me just over two hours to read, so it is not a book that will eat up much of your time. 

I started reading this book on the 9th of January 2015 and completed it on the 10th of January 2015
I gave this book a 3.5 star rating (well I would have if they allowed .5 stars) on Goodreads

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Classics Club 5 Year Challenge

Because I really want to push myself, I decided that I would also take part in this awesome challenge. The idea is to choose 50 (or more) classic books to read and blog about to keep discussions going about these books. You then set yourself a time limit of up to 5 years to read them and blog about them.

I've chosen to give myself the full five years (2020), just to ensure that I can complete it and give it my full attention as well as complete all my other goals. If I complete it within that time, I will be doing another list. There are also some books on here that cross over with my 2015 reading challenge which I feel will give me a good jumping off point to get this started.

On my list there are some books that I HAVE read before as I want to review them and share my love of them with other people. I have shown which these are by using *

1. Watership Down by Richard Adams*
2. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte*
4. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett*
5. The Essential Kafka by Franz Kafka
6. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
7. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielwski
8. The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin
9. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
10. The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
11. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
13. Beowulf by Seamus Heaney
14. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
15. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
16. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
17. Turn of the Screw by Henry James*
18. White Fang by Jack London
19. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
20. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller*
21. Animal Farm by George Orwell
22. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath*
23. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
24. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
25. Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott
26. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley*
27. The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
28. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift
29. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
30. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
31. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
32. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
33. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
34. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde*
35. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
36. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott*
37. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
38. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
39. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
40. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
41. The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett
42. A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
43. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
44. The Three Muskateers by Alexandre Dumas
45. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo*
46. The Story of my Life by Helen Keller
47, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux*
48. Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov
49. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
50. The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson*

I'm really excited about this whole thing and I hope that other people are inspired to join in and discuss classics with me. I have made a Goodreads shelf if anyone wants to look at the books in more detail. The books that I have read before, I have marked as "want to read" but added to the shelf "books read before Goodreads" so that I can mark off when I have finished for this challenge.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Seeing good in the bad - My review of Where The Wild Things Are

One of the PopSugar topics for the book challenge was to read a book that had bad reviews. I had to do some research into this as I don't seem to hear as much about books with bad reviews as much as I hear about books with good reviews. I was really surprised about some of the books that had bad reviews when they were released, one more than others, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak as I had heard nothing but glowing things about it.

"[A] pointless and confusing story" - Publisher's Weekly, 1963

When I made the decision to use this book for this category, it felt a little like I was cheating as it was a children's book, but it was one I have always wanted to read and never had. The deciding factor however was the fact my step daughter had just got it out from our local library and so it was right there for me to read. It was like fate.

Before I read the book, I had a look through to enjoy the artwork as it is beautiful and when I read, I tend not to look at the pictures (unless I'm reading a comic) and I didn't want to miss part of the experience. I loved the "Wild Things" and how they were drawn, they were clearly monsters, but not to the point where it might upset a child of a gentler nature than others. The only one I had real issues with was the one shown on the front cover, the fact that it had human feet really freaked me out!

When I read the book, I read it three times as it only took a matter of a minute to read. I chose to do this as the first time I read it, I found it very hard to follow as the sentences seem to cut off in the most unnatural way between pages. I then read it the third time to check I wasn't missing something in how I was supposed to be reading it. As this book is a children's book, I feel it should read with a lot easier rhythm, because to me it seems really stilted.

The story itself is perfectly fine, and I love how Sendak explains the distance from Max's bedroom to "Where The Wild Things Are" it to me is beautiful

"he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are"

Overall it is a perfectly fine book, but I think it is somewhere in between the really bad and the really good reviews. I'd say it is an average book, not good, not bad, just ok. 

I started reading this book on the 4th of January 2015 and completed it on the 4th of January 2015
I gave the book a 3 star rating on Goodreads

Monday, 5 January 2015

What would you do if you weren't afraid? - My Review of Who Moved My Cheese?

For my first book of the year and as part of my reading challenge I decided that it would be a good idea to start with a " self improvement" book. My choice for this topic was Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson.

This book was originally recommended to me around four years ago by higher management while I was working towards a promotion. I was lucky enough to get my promotion, but that came before I'd had time to read the book. It came up again just before Christmas when I was talking to a good friend about wanting to go forward and launch my blog and other things but was nervous about how it would go. My Friend had been given the book by a work colleague and had found it very helpful so she lent it to me suggesting that I give it a read.

I really enjoyed the way this book was written, it was almost as if you were stood listening to the story being told by a friend. I also enjoyed the fact that it didn't feel very "preachy" which I have found with other self improvement books.

The story follows four characters Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw and how the deal with finding cheese and then what they do when it runs out. The four characters represent different personalities, Sniff is the kind of person who permanently searches for new opportunities, Scurry is a person of action and is always on the go, Hem is someone who is scared of change and will stick to what they know over anything else and Haw is someone who is scared of change but will come round to it eventually and will run with it. I really felt like I identified with Haw, anytime I come to a point in my life where things are going to change I freeze up and panic, not wanting to go through with whatever needs doing (and yes this even includes when I have to upgrade my phone!). But once I get my head around what I need to do and how I'm going to deal with the situation, I'm absolutely fine and I then enjoy the journey.

Throughout the book, Haw writes things that he learns on the walls as a guide to Hem if he decides to follow, the one quote that really stuck with me was "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" It really spoke to me and I thought to all the times I put off doing things that I would have enjoyed or that would have enhanced my life just because I was "afraid". Going forward I will be using this question at times I need to make decisions to help me see if I'm resisting change for the right reason and I feel this will be really good for me.

If I had one complaint about this book, it was the fact that Haw wrote his quotes on walls as he went around the maze, I'm not entirely sure why, but this just didn't feel natural to me and each time he did it, I thought " why can't he write a note on a piece of paper" or some other option. Overall though, this isn't much of a complaint, more just a personal choice as to how to give the information.

I started this book on the 1st January 2015 and completed it on the 3rd of January 2015
I gave the book a 4 star rating on Goodreads, though I'd say it was more a 4.5 rating

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

I've always been a reader, I was an early starter too being able to read before the age of two. I have never had a period of time during which I haven't read, however there have been times when I have just read less. Until around August 2014, I was going through one of the less reading stages when I came across people on Twitter, who are part of International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club, talking about their book challenges and adding books to their TBR list on Goodreads. This really peaked my interest and got me thinking more about reading. I had previously had a Goodreads account, but at that time, it didn't feel right and the people who I was friends with just didn't seem to understand the way I read or the wide variety of genres on my books list. Fast forward back to August and I set myself up a brand new account and started adding the people I'd now met and it has been a brilliant experience. So many like minded people that are friendly and willing to talk about their opinions on books and will recommend books that they feel you will like depending on what they know about you.

Following on from this I have read more and more each month and have been thoroughly enjoying myself to the point where I want to start reviewing books again and have been making brief comments on my most recent books. Being a part of this community I was made aware of some reading challenges for 2015 and I thought why not try them out and use it as a building block to restart my reviews and give me prompts for my blog. The two lists which I have chosen to complete are PopSugar's Ultimate Reading Challenge and BookRiot's Read Harder Challenge, where there has been a duplication of a topic I have only done one and on the PopSugar list, there was a topic "a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't" and as I was a good girl and read everything that I was supposed to, I substituted this with "a book your dad loves". There is only one topic which I missed out completely and that was "an audiobook" though I may try one out later in the year.

I have created a bookshelf on my Goodreads and I will be blogging my reviews of each book as I go along so that I can share my experience with others.

So without further ado, here is my list:

A book with more than 500 pages - A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin
A classic romance - Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
A book that became a movie - Divergent by Veronica Roth
A book published this year - Burned by Karen Marie Moning
A book with a number in the title - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
A book written by someone under 30 - Eragon by Christopher Paolini
A book with nonhuman characters - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
A funny book - High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
A book by a female author - The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
A mystery or thriller - A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
A book with a one-word title - You by Caroline Kepnes
A book of short stories - Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
A book set in a different country - Helen of Troy by Margaret George
A nonfiction book - Portrait of a killer: Jack The Ripper by Patricia Cornwell
A popular author's first book - Star Quest by Dean Koontz
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet - Making Money by Terry Pratchett
A book a friend recommended - In the Dark by Richard Laymon
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book - The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
A book based on a true story - All I want for Christmas Is...Letters from Santa's Mailbag by Carl Anderson
A book at the bottom of your to-read list - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
A book your mum loves - The Borrowers by Mary Norton
A book that scares you - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A book more than 100 years old - The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker
A book based entirely on its cover - The Children's Book by A, S, Byatt
A book your dad loves - Perfect Victim by Christine McGuire and Carla Norton
A memoir - Marley and Me by John Grogan
A book you can finish in a day - Animal Farm by George Orwell
A book with antonyms in the title - War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit - The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas
A book that came out the year you were born - The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
A book with bad reviews - Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A trilogy - The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner - 1. The Maze Runner 2. The Scorch Trials 3. The Death Cure
A book from your childhood - The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
A book with a love triangle - Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
A book set in the future - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A book set in highschool - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
A book with a colour in the title - Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A book that made you cry - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
A book with magic - The Tales of Beedle Bard by J. K. Rowling
A graphic novel - Secret Wars by Jim Shooter
A book by an author you've never read before - The Luck of Troy by Roger Lancelyn Green
A book you own but have never read - The Flying Sorcerers by David Gerrold
A book that takes place in your hometown - Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill
A book that was originally written in a different language - The Art of War by Sun Tzu
A book set during Chirstmas - The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
A book written by an author with your same initials - Little Toot by Hardie Gramalky
A play - Equus by Peter Shaffer
A banned book - American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
A book based on or turned into a TV show - The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
A book you started but never finished - Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
A book written by someone when they were under 25 - The Shadow Thief by Alexandra Adornetto
A book written by someone when they were over 65 - I Dream of Zenia with Bright Red Teeth by Margaret Atwood
A book published by an indie press - The Assassin Princess by Blake Rivers
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
A book by a person whose gender is different to your own - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
A book that takes place in Asia - Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama
A book by an author from Africa - Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture - Dreamkeepers: A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia by Harvey Arden
A microhistory - The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester
A YA novel - The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
A sci-fi novel - Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
A romance novel - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade - Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
A book that is a retelling of a classic story - Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A collection of poetry - A child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure - Hidden by Casey Hill
A book published before 1850 - Emma by Jane Austin
A self improvement book - Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson

There are 70 books in total on my challenge list and I hope to fit in some others to achieve my goal of 100 books this year.

Here's to a very productive and enlightening 2015!