Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I can’t wait for

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is ‘Top ten sequels I can’t wait to get’. Unusually, there aren’t any sequels that I am really hanging out for at the moment, so this list is more along the lines of ‘ Top ten sequels I’d quite like to read one day’.

Sequels

  1. The Stranger by Harlan Coben – I always read books in Coben’s Myron Bolitar series as soon as I can.
  2. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – I have the first two in the series and would like to read the third.
  3. Stravaganza: City of Swords by Mary Hoffman – I’ve read all the other books in this series and love immersing myself in the fantastical world of historic Italy.
  4. Wonder: The Julian Chapter by R J Palacio – I loved Wonder and would probably enjoy a return to this world.
  5. Itchcraft by Simon Mayo – I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series.
  6. The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld – I thought The Intepretation of Murder was a fun read.
  7. Found by Harlan Coben – I haven’t thought much of the first two books in the Mickey Bolitar series, but I’m willing to give Coben the beneft of the doubt.
  8. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m intrigued by a book in this series which concentrates on different characters
  9. Homecoming by Kass Morgan – The first two books in this series were fun, easy reads.
  10. Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch – I haven’t manged to finish Broken Homes yet, which is why this is at the bottom of my list.

Review of ‘A New York Christmas’ by Anne Perry

A New York ChristmasThanks to Bookbridgr and Headline for the ARC of this book.

At this time of year I like to read books set at Christmas to help get me in the mood for the forthcoming festive season. However, despite its title, this book has very little to do with Christmas, it has a bit of snow in it, but could really be set at any time of the year.

This is a very simple crime novella. It’s incredibly easy to read but lacks any depth. Once the murder occurs it is immediately obvious to the reader who the culprit is and this makes the lead character, Jemima Pitt, look incredibly naive, stupid and overly trusting, because she doesn’t immediately realise who did it, so it’s hard to have much respect for her.

Jemima has accompanied her friend Phinnie from London to New York for her society marriage to a rich business heir. Whilst she is there Jemima becomes embroiled in a search for and a murder involving Phinnie’s estranged mother. There is also a very simplistic and utterly predictable secondary love story.

Reading this book was a fairly pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but the book is thoroughly lightweight and forgettable and the crime element lacks any tension or suspense.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I want to reread

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is ‘Top ten books I want to reread’. I don’t really reread, there are far too many books to read in this world to read ones I’ve already read, but if I did, these are the ones I’d pick.

1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

His Dark MaterialsI have actually reread these books, sort of, in as much as I have listened to the audiobooks as well as reading the hard copies. Despite this, and the fact that they are children’s’ books, I still feel that I haven’t fully understood them. I absolutely love these books, they’d probably be my desert island pick.

2. Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd

Brazzaville BeachThis is one of my favourite books but I read it about 20 years ago, so I could probably do with refreshing my mind with it and seeing if I still love it as much as a proper adult.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Chronicles of NarniaI think it would be intriguing to reread these books as an adult with the knowledge that they are full of religious allegory and see whether this spoils the enjoyment I got from these books as a naive child.

4. The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve and 5. This Other Eden by Ben Elton

Mortal Engines This Other Eden

I’m going to call my unborn daughter Wren Alexandra Rosalie, partially inspired by the characters Wren in The Mortal Engines and Rosalie in This Other Eden. So I should probably reread these books to be sure than the characters are good namesakes!

6. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's CabinI’ve just got back from a holiday in America. One of the places we visited was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house in Hartford, Connecticut (and Mark Twain’s extraordinary house next door) which has inspired me to want to refamiliarise myself with her work.

7. The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo

The Snow SpiderI read this as a child and I remember thinking it was amazing but also being completely baffled by it. I have been meaning to reread it for years to see if it makes more sense to me as an adult.

8. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Bet MeI think Crusie is probably the world’s best romance writer. If I ever needed a pick me up on a bad day, I’m sure I could cheer myself up by rereading one of her books and I think this is probably her best.

9. Milly-Molly-Mandy series by Joyce Lankester Brisley and 10. Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Two of my absolute favourite books as a child and I’m really looking forward to reading them to my daughter once she is old enough. I’m pretty much looking forward to rereading all of Roald Dahl’s books, it will be such a treat to have the excuse to rediscover them.

Milly Molly Mandy Fantastic Mr Fox

Review of ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly FireI find it almost impossible to believe that the author of this series is also the author of The Infernal Devices series the gap in quality between the two series is astonishing. The Infernal Devices books are exciting, well-paced, with engaging characters; whereas The Mortal Instruments series is 80% filler. Sadly City of Heavenly Fire also falls into this trap. It is repetitive, predictable and simply far far too long. I wish Clare had given up on this series after the third installment.

The sixth, and thankfully final, installment follows Clary, Jace et al as they travel into the demons’ dimension in order to defeat Sebastian. It takes them 725 pages. I have no idea why it takes so long, there is so much filler, aimless wandering about and unnecessary scenes with Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn in an attempt to sell the next series of Shadowhunter books. Even after Sebastian’s inevitable defeat there is still a good 70 odd pages dedicated to giving everyone a happy ending and tying up everything into a nice bow.

There is only one exciting and unexpected moment and this comes fairly early on in the book when SPOILER ALERT Jordan is killed. The rest of the book is so, so dull and monotonous.

I absolutely must stop wasting my time by reading these books, I swear here and now that I will not pick up any books in the next series The Dark Artifices.

Three classic audiobooks

I recently took up a free Kindle Unlimited trial. I wasn’t that impressed with the choice of Kindle books available; most of the recent publications seem to be self-published authors I’ve never heard of. However, it does offer free Audible downloads on audiobook versions of many classic novels, which is giving me the opportunity to read some older books I probably should have read years ago.

Here are quick reviews of the three I’ve listened to so far:

The 39 Steps by John Buchan

39 StepsThis must have been a novella as it’s only 4 hours long. It’s very well read by Robert Powell with a slight tongue-in-check tone at some of the old-fashioned English. The pace of the book in the beginning is great, it trails off a little towards the end once the main character teams up with the authorities rather than being a man on the run. It’s enjoyable and an interesting intro to origins of this genre of thriller.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Jekyll and HydeAnother novella, only 3 hours long, read by actor Martin Jarvis. This is a really peculiar story, narrated by lawyer John Utterson relating the story of Jekyll and Hyde with a strange sense of detachment. It loses some of the sense of urgency and excitement by being described after the fact by a third party. It’s still interesting and quirky but probably my least favourite of the three audiobooks I’ve tried.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaOften when you read classics they feel cliched, no matter how original they were when they were first written, because they been referenced so often in modern fiction. Dracula does not suffer from this problem it was sublime, I loved it. It was probably helped by the fantastic audio version which is read by a full cast including Alan Cumming and Tim Curry. It is brilliant, I cannot recommend it highly enough! I loved the cast of characters in this novel teaming together to defeat the evil Count Dracula (who surprising barely features in the book), they have fantastic relationships with each other. The story is tense and exciting and really well-paced.