Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Year In Books 2015 - January-February

In an attempt to read more, and reduce my to-be-read backlog, I'm joining in with Laura at Circle of Pines' The Year In Books (http://www.circleofpinetrees/year-in-books-January-2015). In January I read 3 books - Dead To The World, A Girl Named Disaster and The Great Christmas Knit-off

Charlaine Harris' "Dead to the World" is book 4 of her Sookie Stackhouse Series. Set in modern day small-town southern Bon Temps in Louisiana, Sookie is a "supe" - supernatural - who gets up to various escapades involving vampires and other supes of various shapes and sizes. It's a bit like Nancy Drew meets Twilight. The stories could be considered slightly daft, however it is fantasy, so I guess that's ok. Definitely a bit tongue in cheek, and providing you don't take them too seriously they are an enjoyable read. As with books 1-3, book 4 was a real page-turner. I'm looking forward to book 5 :)

My next book was very different. Nancy Farmer's "A Girl Named Disaster" follows Nhamo, a young girl in Mozambique, who runs away to avoid being married off. Wow, I loved this book, I really couldn't put it down. The first couple of chapters were quite hard work as there are a lot of unfamiliar names and words to get to grips with, but fairly quickly, as the story line evolves, I stopped noticing them. We follow Nhamo as she travels up-river, alone and with extremely limited resources, searching for safety. The author really evokes the sounds, smells, and culture of living in Nhamo's village, and we are also introduced into the villagers' belief system. Once Nhamo has run away we feel her fear, frustration and fight to stay alive, and her struggle between hope and despair. Life in the village was hard and relentless, and being on the run for Nhamo is, in a lot of respects, easier. This is a story about survival, and discovery of hidden strength. It's not especially light subject matter, but it is a very worthwhile read.

My 3rd book was in complete contrast to Nhamo's story. "The Great Christmas Knit-off" by Alexandra Brown is a lighthearted seasonal yarn (do you see what I did there ... :). Girl has various woes in busy noisy London. Girl goes to visit best friend in quaint village. Girl falls in love with hunky village man. Girl turns dream of knitting for a living into reality. Everyone lives happily ever after.  No, I haven't just spoilt the plot, you out could work it out in the first chapter or so.(Actually as I write I have a couple of chapters still to go, so there could be an unexpected zombie apocalypse at the end, but I rather doubt it). The Great Christmas Knit Off is warm and fuzzy, just like cozying up on the sofa with a cuppa, a biccy and your knitting (or in my case, crochet). Very predictable chick-lit, but isn't the predictability of chick-lit the exact reason we love it ? Of course the addition of knitting banter makes the whole thing Even Better. Great, great fun to read, really gentle and uncomplicated, no tear-jerking heartache moments, it's just hearty, wholesome, yarny fun.

For February I've chosen 3 books again.

"Just how well can you ever know the person you love ? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy, suddenly disappears."
I bought Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" for my kindle over a year ago. I'd like to see the film (it's got Ben Affleck in it. Enough said :), but I think seeing the film first spoils the book more than reading the book first spoils the film. Does that make sense ? 

The purple yarn is about to be hooked up into a scarf and wristies for my friend's birthday next week.

My second choice should be a bit lighter -  "The Gap Year for Grown Ups" by Annie Sanders. This is one of my charity shop purchases, the title appealed to me, as did the cover. "After twenty years of comfortable marriage, and with the kids finally off her hands, Sarah Lewis realizes she has filled the wash machine once too often ...... What Sarah needs is a gap year for grown ups". Sounds quite light-hearted and fun I thought. I could do with a gap-day myself, never mind a year!

The granny squares above are destined for the playroom, I have about 3 to go and then I can join them, it's a bit of silly fun and I can't wait for the big ta-dah!

Finally for February I'm planning toread is "Dead as a Doornail", book 5 in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I'm fully expecting more vampire silliness, but that's ok! I haven't even read the blurb on the back of the book, to be honest, but as I know the characters now, I'll just dive straight in. I'm going to read this book last so I can move straight onto book 6 at the start of March. 

The blue, green and white squares are for a little something for my 100th post Giveaway - only a couple of posts away now - exciting!

Happy reading everyone :)



  1. I hated Gone Girl. I downloaded it onto the ipad for a holiday and couldn't get into it. In the end it took me over 6 months to finish it. I usually read a paperback a week. Not sure if it was the e book or the book itself which was the worst offender :-)

  2. Some great choices! Nothing wrong with a bit of chick lit, or a bit of non chick lit! It is good to mix things up a bit I think. I agree with your thoughts about the film vs book thing. I also find that I often prefer books to the film, so if I see the film first I don't compare it to the book so I enjoy the film for itself and then book for itself, the other way just doesn't work so well I think! xx

  3. I was reading a lot there for a while.. have you read "The Miniaturist"? It was something. I'm reading "Sailing Alone Around the World" by Captain Joshua Slocum right not.. have a great week ahead! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  4. Thanks for the reviews Jill, that's what is so great about the Year In Books, I just love hearing all about what others are reading. X

  5. I love reading too....
    All those different worlds to dive into, fabulous!
    So nice to read your book reviews!
    Love from Mirjam.

  6. I used to read loads,,, don't seem to have the patience for it any more. 'The Gap Year For Grown Ups' looks like a bit of fun.

  7. Hello Jill! Wish you luck with all your reading! You certainly look like you have plenty to keep you going! :) xx

  8. I have been trying to read more as well. A blog I like to visit also has a book club, so I copied all of their previous months selections and have been requesting them from the library. Never mind that I have a large bookshelf full of titles I haven't read yet! I got through two books in January, 'Looking for Me' and 'The Memory Keepers Daughter'. I could not digest Nicholas Sparks 'The Best of Me' because I find his works too full of teenage type melodrama. I just started 'The Invention of Wings' and so far it looks promising. Thanks for the suggestions: I might just look in to the Sukie Stackhouse books.

  9. Very interesting comments and all the background crochet is gorgeous.

  10. Thanks for sharing your book reviews - it's always useful to hear someone else's view on a book. I'm hoping to get back into reading novels again soon, but I need to finish 'Frankenstein' first - a brilliant classic, but I stopped just before Christmas and haven't got round to starting again :)
    Cathy x

  11. You are either going to love Gone Girl or despise it. I can't wait to hear what you think.

  12. Wow I love the fact you're reading such a mixture :) I loved Gone Girl personally I couldn't put it down, but I know that it seems to be a bit like marmite! Good luck with the next months reading and the crochet projects too of course :D I'm definitely stealing the kindle + crochet idea for my year in books post it's genius! :) xx

  13. Quite a variety. I am not reading much at the moment I seem to be busy with other things.

  14. Love your book choices! I am committed this year to reading more and am doing 26 books in 2015 .. So it's so super to see reviews and suggestions!

  15. Mmm. Gone Girl is a love it or hate it book. We read it for a bookclub and it was interesting how different people saw it. I think you're very sensible to read the book before the movie.
    And I usually enjoy Annie Sanders books. I love the Xmas Factor but most of all I love Warnings of Gales. Required listening (on Audible) every summer before I pack for a beach side English break!

  16. All those books sound interesting. Nowadays I don't read as much as I used to. All those crochet in the background looks wonderful!

  17. I've read Gone Girl but none of the others, so, thanks for the suggestions, Kim

  18. I have finished The Great Christmas Knit Off, lovely light easy reading, and have just started Gone Girl. What does this say about our taste in books ;0) I will even read the sauce bottle too!!!!!


Thankyou so much for visiting, and for taking the time to leave me a comment :) I really really love getting little messages, I read and value every single one, so thankyou again, and have a great day :)