After a really poor year in 2014, where I only read about 16 books all year – from March to September I didn’t read any at all – I signed up again for the Good Reads challenge. My aim is to read 52 books so hopefully this year I’ll manage it.
January started really well, helped by the impetus of post Christmas and having time off work. Now my reading’s slowed down thanks to starting crochet back up, and trying to keep up with Sophie’s Universe crochet-along. But I’m trying to split my spare time between the 2 so I don’t fall behind.
Here’s January’s books:
One hundred proposals – Holly Martin
If you’re a chick lit fan, this One Hundred Proposals is for you. Suzie and Harry work together running a Perfect Proposal business, and Harry sets out on a challenge to make 100 proposals to Suzie and blog about them. From simple to elaborate, but all from the heart, you see the proposals unfurl and see Harry’s love for Suzie grow.
Of course, Suzie’s actually in love with Harry too, but she thinks unrequited, so through the book you’re forever wondering when she’s going to realise and when he’ll come out and get her to realise as they see the world undertaking the proposals.
The book did annoy me a bit as I was with the blog readers saying ‘tell her’, but it also very jealous of all the amazing proposals.
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross – James Patterson
Another one of the Alex Cross series, and more of the same criminals scheming and causing trouble, in this shorter book. This time it’s Christmas, and Alex is taken away from his family to deal with a hotch potch of crimes – family hostages, then terrorists. The mix is a bit too much, but I still like a James Patterson book for getting fast paced, quick reads. An easy way to get back into reading without too much brain power.
Reflection – Diane Chamberlain
I’ve not read one of Diane Chamberlain’s books before, and I really enjoyed this one. Rachel returns to her childhood town of Reflection to care for her Grandmother, carrying the burden of a past tragedy involving her late husband. She’s drawn back to her childhood friendship with Michael, a Mennonite minister, causing further dislike from townsfolk.
I found the characters mostly likeable, and the musical theme and deja vu style of the relationships throughout were interesting. Include some twists towards the end and it makes for an enjoyable read. I’ll be looking out more of this author’s books in future.
The Italian Girl – Lucinda Riley
Another musical themed book, this one based in Italy and the world of opera. Friendships, first love, family, and obsession drive through the story. While you wish for Roberto to stop being so pompous and in love with himself, and tell Rosanna to realise that she’s in a destructive relationship, you can see how their obsession with each other and their intertwined careers and voices can lead them on their path through life.
Of course there are family secrets that also follow their lives, not known by all the main characters which meant I was on tenterhooks wondering when the truth would be told.
Another book I loved and will be looking for more by Lucinda Riley.
Bad Bridesmaid – Portia MacIntosh
Mia escaped family and a dull life in England to become a more glamourous version of herself as a script writer in the US. Then she gets called back to be her younger sister’s bridesmaid…and everything seems to go wrong. Apart from the arrival of best man Leo, with whom she links up and tries to prove to her family that she is more worthy than they make out.
This book does make me wonder with some families, and how they can think people can have so much (bad) influence on goings on. You really feel with Mia, although she does seem to be a bit too groomed and stereotypical movie industry – maybe a stretch of the imagination too far from what she used to be. You can’t fail to like Leo who ends up being her hero.
A typical chick lit formula, and an enjoyable read with plenty of chuckle out loud events.
The little old lady who broke all the rules – Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg
This book isn’t one of my usual ones, but the name reminded me of ‘The hundred year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared’! 79 year old Martha and her friends are in an old people’s home in Sweden, with the management and nurse withholding extra biscuits, privileges and freedom to save money and work. Martha encourages her friends to team up and rebel, aiming to find themselves a better place to live out their days…with them ending up having some interesting escapades with money, art and the police.
This was a fairly slow moving book compared to others I read, but it was light hearted and fun despite the undercurrent of poor care at a home. It was funny to imagine this team of old aged pensioners planning their adventures and ending up in places no-one else would want to, but in preference to their care home.
I might have enjoyed it more had it been set somewhere I have more knowledge of, and the relationships and characters felt like they were a bit confusing. I struggled to remember who was who sometimes. But overall a book that I’m glad I read, rather than sticking with the same old genres.
The Beach Cafe – Lucy Diamond
I’ve read a lot of chick lit in the last month, mostly because there’s a lot of it on offer for my Kindle. Evie’s the underachieving dreamer of the family when compared to her sisters, but she’s the one who inherits her Aunt’s cafe in Cornwall. She decides to take it on despite everyone’s misgivings and turning away from her drifting relationship to find herself, a new life and romance.
Evie’s a likeable character, as are most in her new Cornwall life; you really urge her on to take control of her life and win out over family expectations. Another easy read, with nothing controversial to wind you up while reading.
I also read a couple of Mills & Boon box sets – can’t beat a trashy read you can whizz through, when you’re trying to get back into books again. One of my A level English literature teachers (a middle aged man) once said that everyone in the class should have read at least one M&B book to understand and appreciate great literature read afterwards! After studying english for years, I’ll just go with the quick, easy read and happy endings that they all entail.
January books read = 10 (I’m counting box sets as a single book, although there were 9 books in the 2 I read).
Do you have any recommendations for me?