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cook*create*read: December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My top 2013 reads

In 2013 I read a total of 42 books (my target was 36, so yay!) - not many compared to some people out there, but not bad going for me!  I know I could read more than this if it weren't for those blasted reading slumps I get into, but I have a plan for this in 2014!

Looking at my Goodreads page, only 4 of these 42 books were 5 star reads for me, and one of those was a re-read ...

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson - loved the tension and sinister undertones in this books.  Dorothy is definitely one of my favourite authors.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - this was a book I read solely because I discovered 'book-tubers' and every single one of them loved this book.  It is a YA book, and I bought it for my 14 (15 in 10 days!) year old daughter who read it first and then told me to read it immediately.  I read it, I cried, I loved it. If you haven't read it, you should!

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell - I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review.  I was expecting a light fluffy read but what I got was a very touching look at mental illness and family dynamics.  Loved it.

The fourth 5 star book was a re-read, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling.  I don't think I need say any more about this book.  I am a huge Harry Potter (or rather, Ron Weasley <3 fan.="" p="">

There is one other book that I think I may upgrade from 4 stars to 5 stars.  It definitely deserves an honourable mention!  It is The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  This was a fascinating and gripping story involving time travelling, a strange house and a serial killer - what's not to love?!

What were your top reads for 2013? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, December 30, 2013

A little Christmas book haul!

So this Christmas I asked my hubby for the Man Booker Prize shortlisted books.  I directed him to the bundle for £30 on The Book People and crossed my fingers, and lo, on Christmas Day I got my hands on this gorgeous lot!

Added to the pile were two books bought for me by my mum: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, which I have shamefully never read (along with the DVD of the 2013 film) and Leon, Book 4 which is a gorgeous recipe book which I think I will be using quite a lot this year :)

So excited to get reading these books, though I have plans for a kind of structure for choosing my books to read on a monthly basis ... more on this to follow!

What books did you get for Christmas?

Edited to add:

Ooops! Totally forgot another book that my hubby bought me, and it's a corker!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bout of Books!

I've decided to take part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon which takes place from 1 January to 12 January 2014 - What better way to start the new year?!  If you have no idea what Bout of Books is all about ...

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Bout of Books

Looking forward to making some new bookish friends and reading some great books!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

November Wrap-Up!

I thought I would do a round-up post of the books I've read in November.  After quite a reading slump, I ordered a new bookcase, rearranged my books, discovered book tubers on youtube and found my reading urge again!

In November I read 8 books!  That is pretty good going for me, so I am very pleased with myself :)

The first one I read was The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.  I reviewed this book here and gave it 4 stars.  This book took me several weeks to actually get through - I kept putting it down and not picking it up again for ages, but once I got into the story and into the mood for reading I really enjoyed.  This was a NetGalley review book, read on my Kindle.

I then read Catch Your Death by Louise Voss and Mark Andrews which I bought really cheap on the Kindle (it may even have been a freebie at some point).  This was quite a tense read, really interesting and I gave it 4 stars too!

It was at this point that my new bookcase was delivered, which I am very proud to say I put together myself!  I rearranged my books (alphabetical order, if you must know :)) and then I was really in the mood for reading (and buying!) books!

Quite by chance, I saw that Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was in a special offer on Amazon and was just 99p on the Kindle.  I had been eyeing it up for a while but didn't want to pay full price for it, so snapped it up for 99p.  I was really looking forward to reading this and had heard a lot of good things about it.  It started off really well and I was loving it, thinking that this was going to be a 5 star read.  Then came a really odd bit in the story which just really jarred with me and didn't seem to fit in.  It did pick up again after the middle weird section, but the ending was a bit of an anti-climax.  This ended up being a disappointing 3 star read for me.

Then I went to Tesco and of course perused the book aisle ... I picked up 2 books for £7, one of which was The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  A book about a time travelling serial killer?! Yes please!  I devoured this book in a couple of sittings.  A really interesting and unique story, another 4 stars!

I fancied something a bit lighter after the intensity and weirdness of the The Shining Girls, so I picked up Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg. This is the first book in a trilogy, the third of which I read some years ago not realising it was part of a series.  I really enjoyed this easy-read, it was just what I needed.  Another 4 stars!

Next up was The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  I was really intrigued by the premise of this book - the rotation of the earth slowing down - but sadly it didn't live up to my expectations, and was a disappointing 3 stars.

I then went back to the Kindle and read Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, another 99p buy (I usually only buy books that are 99p or less on the Kindle).  This was a fascinating little story and it really pulled me in.  4 stars.

My final read for November was Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho.  This book had been on my shelf for years, along with several other books by the same author.  I think I am a little intimidated by Paulo Coelho.  This was an odd story, but quite readable and not as intimidating as I feared.  3 stars, but I will certainly read more by Mr Coelho.

I am now nearing the end of Ketchup Clouds by Rosemary Pilcher ... but that will be in my December wrap-up!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of the books I read this month, so please leave me a comment if you've read any of them!