My Foxy Book Challenge #1-5

Hey fellow book lovers,

Back in 2013 I did the 50 book challenge through Goodreads (which I use and love) and although the blogging trailed off, I was pretty pleased with myself for completing it. Last year reading took a bit of a back seat and I didn’t keep much track of the few books I managed to get through. Reading for me has always been an escape from reality, a journey into my imagination and a source for creativity. I feel more relaxed just by giving myself 10 minutes a day to absorb the pages of a new book (or an old one) and so this year I wanted to try and make more time for it.

2015 has been a bit shaky so far so I lowered the bar to 40 books. I know it seems strange to go backwards in terms of goals but I had a few ridiculously long ones to get through this year (I’m looking at you Luminaries) and didn’t want to set myself up for failure. I’m a bit late in updating the blog so here are the first 5 books I read this year (this is your cue to grab a cup of tea and a good seat).Book Challenge

1. Paper Towns by John Green

I love pretty much everything John Green writes. I lap up his words like milk for the mind. The way he does these character studies that are seemingly simple in their plots and descriptions, but actually have a much more complicated symbolism always boggles my mind. Paper towns was another good book by him, but I hesitantly admit that it wasn’t as great as others like Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska. Unlike before, it took me ages to get through and I didn’t read it as quickly as usual. This could be why I feel like I didn’t *get* the imagery behind the characters and their story. Maybe if I reread it I would feel different. Nevertheless, I can still appreciate the way the book was sectioned into three careful themes and I still loved the way he weaved his story around two young characters. It was definitely a book that leaves you pondering long after you put it down. 3 stars.

2. Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

Lets be honest, autobiographies are normally something I don’t consider wasting reading time on. If I wanted to involve myself with reality I would deal with my own issues. After my flatmate giving this rave reviews and a trip to the beach where I wanted something easy to read, I gave this a go and was really surprised at how powerful this read was. It was a pretty raw and honest depiction of the damage addiction can do to a life, and although the writing sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, it was pretty gripping the whole way through. Definitely not a boring life (although I don’t think I was expecting his to be). 4 stars

3. We Were Liars by E.Lockhart

Okay, so I chose to read this book because I felt a bit defensive about my name being used by an author (how dare they) and I was hoping it would be rubbish so that if I ever became an author, I would be the better E.Lockhart. Alas, it was not to be. This book was unusual and written in a pretty unique way, but once I got into it you couldn’t pry this out of my determined hands. It was a short read and also pretty gripping so I got through this in a couple of days. The book is a suspense novel, with a twist that people smarter than me apparently worked out really early (I’m actually glad I’m not clever enough to work it out because I enjoyed the twist more that way…right?). Its better to just jump in knowing nothing and appreciate its cleverness at the end. 4 stars

4. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

This was a book that I swear took me months and months to finish. This is another true story, written by a young woman who survived as a prisoner for 18 years. Its not a fun or easy read, there were parts where I put the book down and was pretty convinced that I wouldn’t get through the rest. If you can handle an awful situation and a brutally honest retelling then this is definitely worth reading. 4 stars

5. Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

Ending with the only book I would suggest no one bothers reading, this crime novel set in the future was a book chosen for book club (not by me I might add). Maybe I am misjudging because there are a whole series of books based around Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas before this, but I didn’t enjoy this at all, and I have a BIG section of my book loving heart dedicated to crime fiction. They are my Mills & Boon. This was pretty rubbish, the setting was pointless and a little confusing, the plots were complicated but not in a way that ever made sense, the characters were annoying and made me angry most of the time. I gave this book more stars than it deserved. If you are looking for a good crime message just flick me a comment because there are SO many that I could suggest over this. 2 stars

Bit of a mixed bag, hopefully my book choices improve over the course of the year. Don’t forget to keep up with me over on Goodreads.

What have you been reading so far? Let me know if you are doing any book challenges this year

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My Foxy Reading Corner: #39-44

Hi All,

Apologies for the long gap between posts. Life sometimes takes an unknown turn and suddenly blogging takes a back seat.

I know I should be blogging solely about all things Christmas but I am in dire need of throwing a quick reading update in as I have one more after this to do at the end of the year. So hear are books 39-44!

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1. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

I had high hopes for this book but was a little disappointed in what was a rather busy, shallow chick lit read. The characters were mostly rather unlikeable and the story lines were nothing spectacular. It took me a while to get into it and once I did I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the read to some extent but not something I would recommend seeing as there is so much to read and so little time. 3 Stars

2.  Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Okay so confession time….I didn’t enjoy this very much at all and thought the characters lacked proper development, the reader was thrown into the middle of a pretty confusing story and it was pretty average. Here is where it gets rather shameful. I realised after reading and complaining about this that it is in fact the third book in a series. The conclusion in fact. And somehow I read the entire thing thinking it was the first. Suddenly the lack of information on characters and sub plots make a lot of sense whilst I sit in a corner sorry for all my criticisms. So yeah, average book but mainly because I am sure the two books before hand do a lot for the story. It still wasn’t good enough that I can be bothered going back to the first two… 3 Stars (Probably deserves more but who knows)

3. Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Ah, I love authors that never fail to dissapoint. Whilst this isn’t my favourite novel of hers I can always rely on a very enjoyable read when it comes to Gerritsen. This creepy story centered around a child who is the lone survivor of his family’s mass murder and a pretty strange school sanctuary this book was a quick and satisfying read. One of my favourite crime/thriller authors and the two females leads are great characters throughout most of her books. 4 Stars

4. Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale by Zack Whedon et al.

Are graphic novels cheating cause if so I kind of cheated. I have been pining after Serenity since falling in love with the TV series and Shepherd’s mysterious, religious character was one I was desperate to know more about. I don’t read many graphic novels but this one was a quick and easy read however I was left with a sense that I had just seen the shorts for  a movie and not really delved into a character’s past like I had hoped to. The drawing was nice to look at but at times it was a little difficult to read. Not bad but could have been SO MUCH MORE. 3 Stars

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

So this is the third book in another series but I had actually read the first two in this case so I guess that’s progress.. I loved this dystopian series and was very excited for this books released. The conclusion to the series was okay but also felt a little forced in some places. The narration by the two characters was weird at first but worked once I got used to it. I like that the author wasn’t afraid to make big moves and overall they were done well. Very enjoyable thought not perfection but a good end for a must read series. 4 Stars

6. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides (I will never say his name right. Ever.)

I was excited to finally read my first book by this rather popular author and the novel did not disappoint. At first I kind of floundered around in what felt at times a little over written but by a quarter of the way I was taken. Not everyone loves this book and I can see why. Some sentences are just so strange and bizarre but at the same time were what made me fall in love with the writing and the characters. For me I guess the juxtaposed characters, pretentious prose and the beautifully written love triangle cliche come across as unique and absorbing. A book that I just wanted to spend hours with so I could savour every word and that doesn’t happen very often. 5 Stars

All in all a bunch of solid books but a couple I could have happily missed. If you want to keep an eye on my reading follow me on Goodreads where I am happy to announce I am officially on track for reading 50 books in 2013! Exciting stuff guys.

Hope you are all having a great week!

My Foxy Reading Corner: #33-38

Hi All!

Today I thought I would quickly throw up my next 6 books in my mission to read 50 books before December 31st. I actually have read ten books total since my last update but thought it might be better to break it up evenly. I’m currently on track to finishing my 50 book challenge which is exciting but I am actually kind of sad about the idea of it ending. I have to find a slightly different challenge that I can try next year….

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#1: The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. A pretty popular book and movie to is this sad story about an unlikely friendship. I knew this would be a tear jerker but was still kind of stunned (in a bad way) by the ending 😦 I’m glad I finally read this classic story and it was a nice easy read aimed primarily at a younger audience (although how they coped I will never know). 4 stars.

#2: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. I rather enjoyed the chick flick movie version of this book so thought I would read the book itself. The book lived up to my expectations and was a fun read and a way to turn off at the end of a hard day. Nothing groundbreaking or especially unique but well written with strong characters and an interesting story/setting. 4 stars (maybe a little generous but out of the chick flick genre this is a definite favourite).

#3: Cleo by Helen Brown. Being a crazy cat lady I naturally attract cat related books so I was lent this biographical story of a NZ journalist and her family (fury members included). I am not a big fan of biographies so I was reluctant to read this. In the end I read it purely out of social obligation so I could return the book to my collegue. I ended up really enjoying this, way more than I expected to. The story was sad and funny, real and yet still an escape. The cat, Cleo, was a great character and tugged at my crazy cat lady heart strings. A good kiwi read and perfect for a weekend or holiday at the beach.

#4: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. As I mentioned last time I am a big fan of The Curious Incident of the Dog and the Nighttime so when I saw this book by the same author at a book swap I couldn’t resist. The story was about a dysfunctional family and an older man who believes he is going crazy with old age. Chaotic and messy the story was good and I enjoyed the characters however I found the writing a little hesistant in places and the story seemed to drag on a little bit. Not a bad read but not as amazing as the Curious Incident. 3 stars.

#5: Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. I read the start of this series as a kid and thought I would revisit is as I remembered the series being good but never got very far. Centered around a group of Australian kids who go camping and upon their return to civilisation find out (*Spoiler alert*) that their town has been invaded in some sort of world war three. Written in a gripping way with likeable characters and lots of action this book didn’t fail to dissapoint and I can’t wait to read the rest. 5 stars.

#6: Crossed by Ally Condie. The second in the Matched YA series told from the two view points of Cassia and Ky who are both trying to find each other in the outer provinces. This was interesting and enjoyable but their are so many great YA dystopian novels that this one doesn’t stand out as anything particularly special. I have the third one ready to read soon and finish off this trilogy so fingers crossed for an exciting end! 3 Stars.

See you guys soon with my next six!

Xx

My Foxy Reading Corner: #25-32

Hi All!

Having a sick day off work today to try and recover from this combo cold/migraine situation so lets pray one day of rest is enough. Not that I don’t enjoy the chance to sit at home and drink tea all day. I would read if my eyes would stop watering for no reason haha. Anyway, who is ready for another installment? I am currently two books behind in my challenge…but I have faith I can make that up..hopefully.

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#25 Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V Snyder: So this is a random book I picked up which is the first in a YA series around a young girl who is due to be executed but instead is offered the option of being a poison taster for the Commander. I enjoyed the read but it wasn’t anything particularly special. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships but overall it was an average book and I doubt I will read the other books in the Study series. 3 Stars

#26 The New World (Chaos Walking #0.5) by Patrick Ness: So this probably shoudn’t count seeing as it was very short and just functioned as an introduction into the world and characters from the Chaos Walking series. However seeing as I am currently 2 books behind in my 50 book challenge I’m gonna go ahead and count it anyway…so sue me. This prequel introduces one of the two core characters of the series and was a nice short intro into Viola’s story. 3 Stars

#27 The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness: This was the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, I can’t remember where I first heard of the series but I went into it knowing basically nothing about the stories (apart from what the prequel revealed). The main character Todd is likable in naive kind of way and as the reader you really feel for him in the confusion of his story. This YA series is set on a planet where men’s thoughts are not able to be hidden. Todd then finds a female (of which there are none left in his town) and together they embark on a pretty intense task. There was only part of this series I DID NOT ENJOY. I won’t say too much but it made me want to bawl my eyes out. Be warned. 4 Stars

#28 City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare: With the movie having come out here recently for the first in The Mortal Instruments series I thought I should venture into this fantasy YA series that seems to be so popular. It was ok…I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I don’t have a lot to say, it was a fine read, the characters were at times a little annoying. I may push through and try read some more in the series if I get my hands on them. We shall see. 3 (generous) stars

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#29 The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell: I loved Sex and the City but have never read any books by Candace Bushnell so when I got my hands on the first story about Carrie when she was at a small town high school I gave it a go. I really enjoyed this light hearted read. The characters were at times annoying/frustrating but in a way that was reflective of what people were like at highschool. Carrie was true to form, fabulous and unique. The story was surprising and moving and funny. Candace’s writing was easy to read and I would love to read some more books by her! 4 Stars

#30 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time by Mark Haddon: Okay, so I have already read this book ages ago but couldn’t resist picking it up again. The story of a young high functioning autistic individual who sets about to solve a neighborhood animal murder is a gem of a book. Mark Haddon captures the young Christopher’s narration and thoughts in a truly unique and captivating way. Trying to keep up with an autistic mind’s tangents and points of view was overwhelming at times but in a truthful and realistic way. A book I would recommend to anyone and everyone. 5 Stars

#31 The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness: I couldn’t wait long before reading the next book in the Chaos Walking series, especially because the first book left us in quite a cliff hanger of a situation. This book was narrated by both Todd and Viola in alternative chapters which offered up an insight into both sides of a tense and stressful situation. The story was again emotional and moving at times and action packed at others. The characters just continue to improve and develop and I enjoyed the writing style in this even better than in the first book. 4 Stars

#32 I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: I LOVED the movie with Will Smith however I knew going into reading this book it was very different to the movie. Robert Neville is our main character and the last “living” man on Earth so hasn’t succumbed to a bacterial infection that turned human race into a vampire-like species. Most of the book is devoted to the monotonyo of his daily survival (but it doesn’t come across as boring, just depressing). Towards the end he meets another character and the already depressing story takes a turn for the worse, The story ends in a thought-provoking manner. All in all I didn’t enjoy reading the story cause it was depressing as hell but I still think its an amazingly written story that is at the top of my read list. 5 Stars.

Done! Only 28 books to go. Any recommendations please share 🙂 And don’t forget to follow me on Goodreads

Liz xx

My Foxy Reading Corner: #17-24

Hi All!

So it has been a SHAMEFUL amount of time since my last reading corner update. I’m falling a little behind in my efforts to read 50 books by the end of the year, but I am determined so let the long nights trying to finish books commence. But not really because lately I have been exhausted enough without any extra reading involved. Anyway, today I thought I would share my next 8 books, there are 12 in total I have read since the previous update (which seems like a lifetime ago) but I thought splitting them up was a little more sensible.

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#17 The Host by Stephenie Meyer: Okay so I am only slightly ashamed to admit I thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight series. Like I know it wasn’t Shakespeare or Harry Potter but I was rather happily sucked in to the stories (TEAM EDWARD) and quite frankly never wanted them to end (phew, glad that’s out. Time for some wine before I disappear into some 14 year old). So after Twilight I was actually a little shamefully excited to read and watch The Host. I read it and kind of enjoyed it but not much about the story really stuck with me, and if anything it tended to just annoy me. It was fine but nothing special and no where near as good as the Twilight series in my opinion. Also it was a pretty poor attempt at a very average sci fi story line (and I LOVE me some sci fi). And PLEASE don’t ask me whether I enjoyed the movie.  2 Stars (I actually gave this 3 stars in Goodreads when I read it way way back but I can’t bring myself to do it now).

#18 Matched by Ally Condie: Another rather popular YA dystopian series in a universe where people are matched with their life partners based on all sorts of compatibility ratings and emotions aren’t really involved (there is a lot more to it but hey, I read it like 3 months ago). This was fine but not that memorable. I can’t even really recall much about the main characters.  I will read on with the series but seemed pretty similar to others like Delirium and just not as good. Maybe it will get better, who knows. 3 Stars (this can have the full 3 purely because it wasn’t quite as painful in some places as the host).

#19 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: I truly enjoyed this read (and would read it again if I didn’t have so many others to get through). I can see why people draw parallels with The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it just feels similar in its sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking honesty and its quirky characters that are so imperfect and unique that you are completely drawn in. Excited to watch the movie and not sure why I haven’t yet to be honest. 4 Stars.

#20 The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton: Michael Crichton is a sci-fi thriller author who I know I can turn to for some fast paced, enjoyable rides in a world of political lies, untamed biology and terrifying possibilities. I enjoyed this one which centered on a deadly particle from out of space and a group of scientists chosen to try and save us from it. At times awkwardly written but tense, enjoyable and still scientific/technical which I like. 3 Stars.

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#21 Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver: After rather enjoying Delirium I moved on to the second in the YA dystopian series and actually ended up enjoying it more than the first. I felt it was faster paced, held more tension and emotion and just had a slightly more exciting story line. Needless to say I’m excited to read the third!!! #4 Stars

#22 Echo Burning by Lee Child: Another classic series that I always know I can enjoy is the Jack Reacher action/thriller series and I have been trying to read the books in the series that I missed out when I was a bit younger. This is number 5, centered on a woman desperate for Reacher’s help with an abusive husband who is about to come back out of prison. As usual was a thrilling enjoyment from start to finish. 4 Stars.

#23 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Okay so this was a book EVERYONE raved about and one I had for ages and just couldn’t get around to reading. Once I started it was still a little stop start (mostly my fault) and it wasn’t until the last third of this book that I really started appreciating the story and every puzzle piece that made it so unique. The characters, the writing, the narrator…everything worked really well and although it wouldn’t be in my top ten books ever like I know it is for some others I did thoroughly enjoy everything this book offered up. A unique and special read that should be on everyone’s list. 5 Stars.

#24 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: I wanted to reread this, having not done so since I was rather young and with the movies coming out and what not. I knew I would enjoy it, it was pleasant, easy to read and felt comforting like an old blanket. Not a lot else to say, a well written book in a universe I love. Oh and the illustrations are amazing. Only gave it 4 stars just because I love some books a lot more.

Phew, good job for getting through that. Another update to come in the next week or so 🙂 Meanwhile if you have any book recommendations please share!

Xx

Coming up next is some tea inspired ramblings….want to see my new favorite? Too bad it’s coming up anyway.

Tuesday’s Top Ten Books To Read

Hi All!

Tuesday again. I’m not a big fan of Tuesday’s….I find them worse than Monday’s, is that weird? I feel like Monday is OK as it is the start of a brand new week and then Tuesday comes around and the weekend feels forever away and you realize every week is the same haha. Oh well, here is Tuesday’s list for you, today featuring books I want to read. These are all high on my list of many many books to be read, for the almost full list go add me on Goodreads. I love being able to keep books I want to read all on a giant list, other wise I just lose all the recommendations and what not that I receive and just end up choosing random books, often ones I have already read, once I finish a book. So in no particular order…

1. A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire book 2) by George R. R. Martin.

2. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

3. Inferno by Dan Brown

4. The Passage by Justin Cronin

5. Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

6. The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

8. The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millenium #2) by Stieg Larsson

9. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

10. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

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Random Favorites for March

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Hi all!

So for the last favorites post for March I have some random apps, noms, tv shows and so on that I have been loving throughout March. There’s quite a collection so let me just get started 😉

20130404-203203.jpgGoodreads: This is a website/app that I have really gotten into over the last month or two. Its a social media type of website for sharing info on what books you are reading and your opinions on them. I have found it a great source for new book inspiration and it also motivates me to get books finished (I’m aiming for 50 books this year). I also like the chance to ponder over a book and give it a review as it encourages me to think a bit more and be more critical over what I read instead of just finishing it, throwing it into the black hole that is my book shelf and never thinking of it again. If you are a member or decide you want to be than connect with me! My username is Lizzy Weaver (Lockhart). If you want to check out what I have been reading so far here is a post I did a little while ago 🙂

20130404-203125.jpgBrooklyn Cateye Sunglasses from CottonOn: Now that I am wearing contacts I have been enjoying being able to wear sunglasses again throughout Summer and this pair has been my favorite (although I think they may be a little too big for my face). I like the classic cat eye and the brown tortishell colour. For $10 I was pretty happy.

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Spotify: My second computer program/app this month is Spotify which I’m sure most people are aware of (if you’re not its a music social media type of business with the ability to listen to radio stations, follow people’s playlists and create your own that you can listen to both online (for free) or offline if you pay the monthly fee of … something). I joined up to the 30 day trial and had heaps of fun downloading (legally) albums that I wanted to try out. I found lots of new music to try out (see my Albums of the month post for a couple of examples). I would love to keep up the paid subscription but at the moment I’m not sure. Luckily as a free user you still get to enjoy spotify online.

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Sours Squirms: At the beginning of the month Edd and I had our little road trip/honeymoon and these were the sweets of choice for the duration of the trip! I love The Natural Confectionary Co. for attempting to make lollies slightly less evil and yet still delivering delicious morsels of sugary goodness. I also love sour lollies and these were….well, sour? Yum!

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thereadables: Having gotten back into reading big time I found a youtuber who talks alll about BOOKS and I love her! Priscilla is cute, colourful (she even organized her bookshelf by colour, I can barely see what books I have with all the random piles I have going on) and shares each month a variety of book related videos including book hauls, reviews and more. Check out her channel if you feel like taking a break from all the makeup/cat videos :). She also has a tumblr which I am quite a fan of.

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Modern Family: Okay so not a new favorite but this month Edd and I rewatched every season up until the current episode and I never get over how much I love this show. I made the mistake of watching it whilst at the gym and couldn’t control fits of laughter from escaping my body whilst cycling, I apologize to those who were lucky enough to my presence. Anyway above and below are two of my favorite quotes, can you tell I love Mitch and Cam?

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Well that’s it for another month! What have you been loving in all things random?