Tag: toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books of the Year

Hi everyone!!
So I figured it was about time I shared my top reads of the year with you, as we are fast approaching the end of the year (and those all-important reading challenge deadlines!) I’m pleased to say I am so close to mine, being on the LAST BOOK of my challenge, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
I’m keeping matters brief here, but if you want to read more of my thoughts about any of these book, I have linked my reviews to each title for you.
So, without any further preamble (to which I am apt), here are my Top Ten Reads of the Year:-

10 River God – Wilbur Smith

River God
River God was recommended to me by a work colleague and I am glad I have started the series. The writing style is wonderful, and I am also blessed to know that a dear family member of mine used to love the works of Wilbur Smith. Knowing that gives me another little thing to remember them by. I can’t say I love all the characters all the time, but I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes us.
 

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – J. R. R. Tolkien

LOTR Return cover
I am both sad and gladdened to have finished this series this year. That probably sounds odd to some, but there is nothing quite the same about reading a book again for the second time. That won’t stop me, but it doesn’t have that magic spark you get when you don’t know what is going to happen and the suspense is killing you. Admittedly, you probably pick up on more subtle hints when you read again… I’ll have to find out when I revisit.
 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom
Here is another series started on the basis of both watching the TV series and on a recommendation. Cornwell’s writing is also fantastic and he succeeds in writing Uhtred’s character in such a way that he is loveably arrogant – and that is hard to do. I also love the historical fiction element, and with the filming of the next series starting next year, I’ll have to get reading!!
 

Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad.jpg
This is, so far, my favourite book by Terry Pratchett. I love the fairytale theme and the messages he so often likes to portray. Greed and vanity can be your downfall if you let it rule you. I also love to see the development of Gytha Ogg’s character. In the prior Witches books, she takes more of a backseat and that doesn’t suit her. I love the bawdy jokes, her huge personality and “don’t give a monkeys” attitude. Witches Abroad is satire at its best.
 

Making History – Stephen Fry

Making History
I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Again taking a leaf out of History’s book, it considers what might have happened had Adolf Hitler not been born and the impact on the rest of the world. It is an entertaining, fictional read, with our main character progressing from bumbling through life to changing the course of History rapidly, and each of the characters are very relatable.
 

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird.jpg
I’m glad I tackled this classic this year. It is a book that was available to study through school, though it wasn’t one I was ever fortunate enough to read there. I’m glad I took the plunge though, as it makes for provocative reading in terms of educating ourselves on the injustice of the system in place not all that long ago. Makes you think, huh.
 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

Green Mile
I have lost count of the number of excited rants I have had about this book, and I am not going to go into another one because we could be here all day! Again, as in with To Kill a Mockingbird, The Green Mile is a real eye-opener as to how segregated society was (and arguably, still is). I won’t get into it though. If you want to read more, check out my full review by clicking on the title.
 

IT – Stephen King

IT
This is the longest book I have read all year. Not only that, it captures your attention and stirs your imagination, wondering what could be so terrible as to haunt the town of Derry so brutally. The fact that a book can be so long and both 1) popular and 2) keep your attention throughout, says a lot about Stephen King’s writing. What a legend this man is.
 

2     The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings 2
If I have one regret about this book, it is that I haven’t picked it up sooner. I literally only started reading this in October and I can testify it promises to be a fantastic series! Book 3 0f 10, Oathbringer, has only just been released, so I am going to have to pace myself I think.
Who am I kidding, I am not going to pace myself at all…
 

1     Thank you for review requests!


Lastly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all you independent authors that approached me with review requests this year. I am very humbled that each of you took the time to read my blog and chose to approach me for a review. I couldn’t possibly pick any one of these over the others as a favourite, as I have read such wonderful and diverse books, so I wanted to take the time to celebrate them all.
 
I truly have been able to read some fantastic books this year and I hope to have as much success next year. What have you been reading and absolutely loved? If you have any recommendations for next year I would love to hear them!!
Rebecca mono

Top Ten Tuesday -Books on the TBR

Hi guys!!
I thought with today’s post I would take the opportunity to share my Top Ten eagerly anticipated books that I will be reading next year!
 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radience
Goodreads
You know when you start a series, and you finish the first book and immediately just want to binge read the rest? Yup. This is one of those for me. Given that Sanderson is only so far as having released the third book (out of ten) of this series, I am going to have to pace myself.
 

The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law
Goodreads
Here is another Sanderson book, and it is the start of the second “trilogy” of the Mistborn series. I’ve been meaning to start these for some time, but you know, there are so many books out there and so little time… *sigh*
 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Goodreads
I was drawn to this book as it is both a classic and famously written from the perspective of an autistic child. Since it is so different from usual, I have to give it a read.
 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Goodreads
I am absolutely sure reading this will make me cry, but it’s another classic that I have really wanted to read for some time. I’ll get some tissues to hand.
 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

Sword Song
Goodreads
Sword Song is the fourth book in a series I started this year. As I haven’t read any of the books in this series since June, I think we are overdue the next instalment.
 

The Shining – Stephen King

The Shining
Goodreads
I never thought I would enjoy Stephen King’s writing… and how wrong I was! I’m so ashamed I haven’t picked up any of his books until this year, I feel the need to make up for lost time.
 

The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith

The Seventh Scroll
Goodreads
As much as I really dislike the MC at times, River God was such an enjoyable first instalment that I have to read this soon.
 

Soul Music – Terry Pratchett

Soul Music
Goodreads
I only finished Men At Arms, the book prior to this one in the Discworld series in September but somehow it always feels like an age has passed between me reading Pratchett’s books. They’re almost a guilty pleasure.
 

11.22.63 – Stephen King

11.22.63
Goodreads
I love books that have an element of history in them, so combine this with Stephen King’s amazing writing and you get a very excited me. I also managed to pick up a copy of this in a charity shop in good nick for 50p, so win-win!!
 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Good Omens
Goodreads
I think this has the potential to be absolutely hilarious, so this was a definite addition to the list!!
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So that’s the list!!
I’ve tried to keep it brief because if given the opportunity, I really could go on for hours and hours!
What are you looking forward to reading next?
Rebecca mono

Top Ten Tuesday – Best TV/Film Adaptations of Books

I’ve decided to take part in another Top Ten Tuesday based on how popular my last post was. If anyone wants to check that out, here is the link – Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Books.
It’s fair to say that we, each and every one of us, have our own preferences when it comes to books, films and TV. In making my assessment of my Top Ten, I will obviously be taking into account how much I enjoyed the TV or film version of the book. Not only that, I think it is also important to recognise how alike the adaptation (because let’s not forget – it is just that) is to the book. As much as I appreciate everyone has their own spin on stories – deviating too far is just a pet hate for me.
So… let’s get started!
 

10 – The Maze Runner – James Dashner

The Maze Runner
This is one example of the few occasions in which I watched the film before I read the book. I’m glad I did, otherwise, I would have gotten sick of Thomas’ whining all the time. This book is at the bottom of the list because the film ending was a bit different to that in the book. They still got to the same “place” if you like, but went about it in a different way.
 

9 – The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games.jpg
I have added this to the list, and I am going to make a little confession. This isn’t based on ALL the films – I still have the third instalment to watch. It’s been sat on my TV box for months. Four, in fact. I checked. Whoops! Anyway, these films, as far as my recollection goes, are pretty accurate to the books.
 

8 – Of Mice & Men – John Steinbeck

OM&M cover
I love this book! I first read it in school as part of an assignment. I think it is the first book I actually enjoyed studying!! It grew on me more than anything – I didn’t take to it straight away. I’m glad I did though… who doesn’t love Lennie? I watched almost all the film during English class and it took everything I had not to cry at the end. I’m a self-confessed wimp.
 

7 – Harry Potter (Series) – J K Rowling


The Harry Potter films definitely capture the essence of the books, and I am happy I grew up with them. Again, I will admit here I am yet to watch the last film. What child doesn’t wish to be swept away to a new world of learning and magic? If you have to go to school, why shouldn’t it be fun? These are books I am absolutely going to be re-reading in the future!
 

6 – A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale
This TV series was shown on Channel 4 and I thought it was a great way to bring this classic to the mass market. There were a number of discrepancies between the book and the series though; some of the biggest being alterations in the timeframe and some “modifications” to make some of the characters more culturally relevant today. One example being that Ofglen (the first) is a lesbian and as a punishment for inspiring rebellion, has to watch her barren partner hanged. This never happened in the book – it was published in the 1980’s after all. They were different times.
 

5 – A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin


OHMYGOD this series!!!  Like a vast number of people, I love it!! Having read the series twice (and I could probably fit it in again before The Winds of Winter – just saying), I have noticed a number of discrepancies. A quick search on the internet will bring you any number of theories and in equal measure, a number of inconsistencies! Given I am taking these into account, this is knocked off the top spot.
 

4 – The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien


I’m new to the party on Lord of the Rings. I should have read the books and watched the films sooner! As far as I could tell, I didn’t pick up any discrepancies… not that I’ve gone to the effort to look either. I read the books first and I wasn’t disappointed with the films.
 

3 – The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell


I don’t know how many people have heard about this series, but if you love historical fiction, please, please, please… watch it (and read it)!! Alexander Dreymon portrays our protagonist fantastically. The TV series has covered the first four books so far, and if what I have seen is accurate, we are looking at another year’s wait for the next one. So not only do I have to wait for GoT, I have to wait for this too… *grumble grumble*. All I am aware of is the presence of a character in the TV series that isn’t in the book. That’s literally it – if I have missed something though… please tell me.
I’ve only included the books I have read so far, but there are ten in all.
 

2 – War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy

War & Peace
I am grateful I watched the BBC’s adaptation of War & Peace before I even attempted the book. Had I not, I would have had no chance of reading it. Given the length and complexity of the book, I would actually say that MAYBE my understanding of what happened in the book was picked up from the show. Did anyone else watch this? What are your thoughts on the series compared to the book?
 

1 – The Green Mile – Stephen King

Green Mile
I feel I talk about this book a lot, and I have had a number of conversations with my Dad in particular about how alike the book and the film are. The only thing I am thankful for is that we don’t get to see Delacroix as described after his electrocution. The book made me feel sick… never mind actually having to see it!
 
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So that makes up my Top Ten!!
There are so many books in my “Read” pile that I wish there were either TV programmes or films for!
Do you agree with my choices? What is your favourite book/film/tv series combinations? Are there any books you want to be put on screen? I really want to hear from you about it!
Rebecca mono

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Books

Hi!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday so far!
Today I wanted to do something a little different – it’s another meme frequenting the world of blogging and I’m excited to dive in!! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish for the purpose of sharing lists about a variety of book-related topics.
Personally, I feel like I spend a lot of time talking about books I love and enjoy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! After all, I am not intentionally going to pick up a book I know I am not going to like.
That being said, sometimes with the best will in the world, we cannot love everything. Books that other people rave about, or books you think you will really enjoy just don’t always cut the mustard. (This is a really bizarre expression, but I love it!) These books are the feature of today’s post, so let’s get to it!
I’m writing the list in reverse order, so I’m starting with the least offensive books:-
 

10. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods
I think I’ll get some hate on this one. It is not that I didn’t like it. I did. I DID, OKAY?! I just didn’t love it… and I really thought (hoped) I would. This is a book that has been talked about a lot this year and perhaps the hype got my hopes up. It’s an okay read – and I would probably pick it up again (as has been recommended to me)… but not yet.
 

9. Eric – Terry Pratchett

Eric
Again, this is a book in which I enjoyed certain parts of, but not all. Towards the end of the book, Rincewind and Eric have to make their way through Hell back to the Discworld. I particularly loved this part as Hell was basically run like an office, with memos, policy statements and torture by boredom instead of the traditional variety of physical methods. Working in an office for 35 hours a week, I saw the humour in this, but not much else. It isn’t a bad book, but not one of Pratchett’s finest in my humble opinion.
 

8. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures
It’s bad enough having one Pratchett book on here, never mind two!!
I just found this one to be really slow. At school I studied a lot of theatre so this parody of the magic of Hollywood should have been right up my street. Sad to say, I found it a bit dull.
 

7. The Inheritance Cycle series – Christopher Paolini


 
I started this series whilst studying my A-Levels, and I have fond memories of reading Eragon whilst on break duty, supervising the kids in the younger years.
I think by the time I came to read Eldest I had outgrown the series – I found it a little bit childish and ultimately, I have given up on it. If I had read it sooner I probably would have enjoyed it.
 

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
My dad would absolutely hate me if I knew this was on my list of most disappointing books. I don’t mind the film so much, but I find it really silly. It’s not supposed to be a book you take seriously, sure. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.
 

5. The Great Iron War Series – Dean Wilson


 
I started this series this year. I also DNF’d it this year. The foundations of the series are good – I love the base plot and the motivations of the characters. What I dislike about the books is how repetitive and unrealistic they are.
“Well damn, the enemy broke my super expensive submarine. Good job I kept an arsenal of weapons and a barrage balloon on standby… you know, just in case.”
Right. Sounds legit, no?

4. The Books of Pellinor – Alison Croggon


I really enjoyed three-quarters of this series. Guess which one let me down.
The Singing, of course. The build-up to this huge battle between “The Chosen One” and the darkness begins early on and you know what? By the time the battle actually came Alison must have realised she only had about 12 pages left in her, rushed the ending very badly, and for me, the whole series just fell flat on its face. I was so disappointed, as this had so much promise.

3. Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Magician's Guild
Now we are getting to the really bad books. This was a DNF pretty much straight away as I couldn’t get into it. There isn’t much more to it than that.
 

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The idea of a world in which you can read minds sounds both fantastic and scary right?! I thought so too, but this was also a DNF straight away. I seem to recall I thought it came across a bit childish, but I attempted this years and years and years ago and truth be told, I’ve erased the painful memory of trying to read this from my mind.
 

1. The Darkness that Comes Before – Scott Bakker

The Darkness that Comes Before
What makes this book the worst on my list is that by every right, I should have enjoyed it. I felt so strongly that I should, I ended up forcing myself to read it and that was a mistake. I’ve even attempted a re-read years later and I cannot get into it. I don’t like the main character; I find the fantasy world confusing… the list goes on. It doesn’t get any better. I can honestly say that whilst I am sure someone out there loves it… I don’t. It gets the top prize for being the worst book I ever read.
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So that makes up my list of the Top Ten Most Disappointing Books!!
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The important thing to remember is that everybody has different tastes and we are all entitled to our opinions. I’m basically saying don’t hate on me for any of my choices, pretty please?
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me?
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