Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Book 21 - Before I Go to Sleep (SJ Watson)


Wow! I was hooked from the word 'go' and couldn't put it down, this book is a real "page turner".

Detailed, gripping and full of suspense, SJ Watson keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout this thriller of a story.

Without giving too much away as I don't want to ruin or reveal any of the twists and turns, the story follows the character of 'Christine' as she starts piecing together her life after she suffers amnesia.

SJ Watson has produced a masterpiece, very clever and well written. A riveting must-read.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Book 20 - Picture Perfect (Jodi Picoult)


Yet another triumph from JP. I pick up her books now with a certain degree of trepidation, I am concerned that I perhaps won't like the story, or I will somehow feel disappointed at the end because I have enjoyed her other novels so much.

I am pleased to say that this has not been the case (thus far, I still have two or three to go before I have read her complete collection to date) and Picture Perfect is a poignant and moving story telling the tale of difficult childhoods and domestic abuse, centring around the main character of Cassie and her husband, Alex. Cassie finds herself injured and suffering memory loss in a cemetery one evening and is rescued by a police officer.

The story unfolds as she gradually regains her memories and remembers exactly what happened leading up to her accident, and the twists and turns that follow as she tries to piece her life back together in the aftermath of her discovery.

While Picture Perfect is not my favourite JP novel, it is certainly well written and enjoyable, and everything I have come to expect from her work.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Book 19 - Nothing Left to Want (Kathleen McKenna)


I will start by saying I had never heard of Casey Johnson until reading this book. I have since done some 'Googling' and found out some more information, but up until that point she was an entirely unknown entity despite clearly being infamous in NYC.

Nothing Left to Want is about the true life and death of American billionaire heiress and socialite Casey Johnson, although in the book she is called Carey Kelleher. While I did pity Carey to a point, as she came across as someone who had only ever wanted to be loved and was repeatedly let down by her family and friends, I really did struggle to care all that much about her because she was essentially a "poor little rich girl", starving at a banquet.

The story was brilliantly told by McKenna and it is an intriguing insight in to the lives of the super rich and their apparent inability to care about anything besides money and themselves. While this story has an unfortunate and tragic end for carey after her death (from natural causes), I do have to reserve my compassion for those who have to deal with genuine adversity, and not their own self destructive behaviour because mummy and daddy didn't love them enough. An insightful and interesting read.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Book 18 - Hooking Up (Jessica L. Degarmo)

HOOKING UP - Jessica L. Degarmo 

The book is about a young woman named Caitlin who, after the break-up of her long term relationship, decides to take the advice of a friend and have a 'hook up' to get over her ex boyfriend, except she manages to hook up with a man who wants a relationship, and so the story surrounds their fledgling relationship and the difficulties both of them face in allowing themselves to love after being hurt in the past.

I have to admit, that while I enjoyed this book as a light-hearted easy read, I did find the characters to be lacking depth. I would have liked to have had more interaction between the two main characters, more of their story told instead of just Caitlin's internal struggles. Perhaps a little more romance? Overall though, a pleasant story.

Books 15>17 - Fifty Shades Trilogy (E L James)

So let me start by saying that I am probably in the minority, but that's okay. Taste is subjective, not everyone enjoys everything and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am always open to new reading material, and when the hype surrounding The Fifty Shades trilogy several weeks ago started I allowed myself to be suckered in to buying the books. For what it's worth, if you haven't bought them yet, don't. Borrow them from someone, save your money. You are BOUND to know someone who has them. Reading them once will probably be enough if your taste is anything like mine. If you're going on holiday, these books would be great for a bit of easy-reading. For avid readers, probably not so much. Very popular (for obvious reasons) but literary masterpieces, they certainly are not.

I love to read, I am taking part in the #50BookChallenge to read 50 books in 2012, and so adding these three books to the list worked in my favour, they upped my numbers. These are books 15, 16 & 17 of my progress.

As I was saying, I love to read, but the story has to have substance, it has to capture my imagination and to grab my attention immediately. These books did not do that for me. They were simply a bit of light-hearted reading with a generous helping of smut to shift the story along. Well, what little story there was. I understand that these books started life as Twilight fanfic but even so, a fair bit of tweaking (storylines, not nipples, Mr Grey). wouldn't have gone amiss before publishing.

Fifty Shades of Grey was pretty dire, plot wise. It stumbled along (though there was some sandstone, and sandstone, oh and marble, and then more sandstone) and while it was detailed in the sexual content, it lacked any sort of detailed storyline. I learned that Christian Grey is a feeder, Anastasia Steele was borderline Anorexic (no normal woman goes off her food that easily, come on), has an unusual habit of constantly biting her lip (maybe she should try eating?) & was not only a virgin but had clearly been living in a cave, and of course that Katherine Kavanagh (no danger of forgetting her name, it is repeated often) is very tenacious. I forgot after a while whether she was tenacious, but then was reminded that she was indeed tenacious. Repetitive, lacking a plot, and full of sex. If that's your sort of thing, then by all means read it.

Fifty Shades Darker was a definite improvement but by no means a great read in my opinion. A handful of basic storylines were bundled in to this one, so it at least made it easier to read. I started to get bored of the constant shagging I have to say, nobody has that much sex unless they're getting paid for it. In this book Ana seemed marginally less like a simpering simpleton, but Christian continued to come across as rather menacing & bipolar. We learned a bit more about his past, but on the whole it was still hard to comprehend as it was that random and disjointed. I also struggled with picturing any of the characters, usually I can read a book and have a perfect picture in my mind of who the characters are and how I see them, but I have been unable to picture a single one of these characters. The descriptions are basic at best, which made it - for me - that much harder to enjoy.

Fifty Shades Freed was also rather slow. By chapter five they were still flouncing around on jet skis in the south of France, being co-dependent. As for Ana's 'inner goddess', quite frankly by the third book I was ready to karate chop her in the neck for her constant pointless interruptions. Same goes for her "subconscious". I also started to suspect that Christian might be a touch mercurial, and that's not because she says it repeatedly of course, that's just a stab in the dark... I am astounded that so many women are swooning over his character because to be honest some of the things he says to Ana make him sound like a man teetering on the edge of losing it completely & turning in to a serial killer. I think she should do a little less 'idle wondering' & more wondering why on Earth she is married to a man who is so possessive, angry & unreasonable. The only exciting thing that happened in the entire book lasted for about six pages & was over before it began. Yet more random disjointed storylines, and descriptions that said I-haven't-really-thought-this-through-properly. I actually started skim reading over the sexual content because it was getting very samey, there are only so many times I can read about Christian growling deep in his throat before I started wondering if he has some sort of undiagnosed medical issue. The ending was satisfactory (actually, just the fact that it ended was satisfactory), although I was having to will myself to the end of the book by that point.

If you like a bit of blithe holiday reading, these are probably the books for you. If you prefer something that has depth and substance and captures the imagination, then I would give Mr Grey a miss.

Laters, baby.

Books 13 & 14 - The Dead Girls Dance, House Rules (Rachel Caine, Jodi Picoult)

I need to step up my game, we're halfway through the year and I am no where near halfway through the challenge! I have a stack of books to get through though so fingers crossed I am going to be able to make up the time and get this challenge completed by the time Big Ben rings in 2013.

I have completed books 13 and 14 of the challenge, as detailed below...

(Morganville Vampires) THE DEAD GIRLS' DANCE - Rachel Caine

Honestly, I really struggled with this one. It took me ages to read because it just wasn't holding my interest. There was a lot going on, it was a very busy story, but nothing really seemed to 'happen' and it seemed to go in circles for a while before eventually coming to a conclusion. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first and I am unsure if I will continue to read the rest of the series.

HOUSE RULES - Jodi Picoult

As I have said before, I am a huge JP fan and I haven't read a book of hers that I haven't enjoyed. As a parent of a child with Autism this story, that of a teenage boy named Jacob who has Asperger's and is accused of murder, appealed to me on a personal level and I was keen to read it. There was one small thing that I was slightly disappointed about, in that Jacob's mother seemed to be very isolated and have no friends at all, whereas from my own personal experience, I find that parents of children on the spectrum actually tend to reach out to other parents who understand them, parents with children also on the spectrum. I felt she could have perhaps drawn on that for support during Jacob's court case. Parents of special & additional needs children almost have their own community and are certainly keen to aid those in need so it would have been nice to have had that included in some way. Besides that, it was a deeply moving story and I really felt that JP told this tale beautifully and sensitively. The book moved me to tears on a couple of occasions, it really tugged at the heart strings and made me consider the teenage & adult years for my son. A good story, well told.

Books 10>12 - How To Be A Woman, Sing You Home, Keeping Faith

While I was on my travels I managed to read three books, detailed as follows -

HOW TO BE A WOMAN - Caitlin Moran

Recommended to me by my dear friend Kath, she brought this along on our holiday for me to read. It is hands down (& bras off) one of THE FUNNIEST books I have read, ever. I was eyed suspiciously by sun worshippers poolside after laughing hysterically at several key points through this book, and also disturbed Kath's reading at bedtime by gasping for breath after reading about the 'bat' incident. There were actual tears. If you are a woman, and even if you are not, you need to read this book, no question. Positively hilarious but also rather touching, it is an absolute must-read.

SING YOU HOME - Jodi Picoult

I am a massive Jodi Picoult fan and my bookshelf is dominated by her work, so you can imagine my delight when my husband presented me with two more of her novels to take away with me! Sing You Home did not disappoint and was everything I have come to expect from Jodi Picoult. She delves deep in to the world of baby loss and infertility and tells a very poignant tale of how it can push people apart, but also bring them together. Harrowing at times, and a real tearjerker, but a beautifully written and touching story which was very much worth reading.

KEEPING FAITH - Jodi Picoult

Thought-provoking and profound, I was hooked on this book from the minute I picked it up. It opens your mind and your thoughts to religion and spirituality, and tells the story of a mother's dedication and love for her child in trying times, including divorce and depression. Mariah's love for Faith shines through and you find yourself rooting for her from the word 'go'. Two thumbs up from me.

Book 9 - Glass Houses (Rachel Caine)

Number nine complete -


I have started reading The Morganville Vampires series on the recommendation of my eldest daughter, who has gushed about them non-stop and assured me they were not all teen angst & such nonsense so I thought I would give them a whirl. I was pleasantly surprised with this first book, it is about a girl named Claire who goes off to College in a strange town called Morganville, and discovers that the town is run by vampires.

So far so good, I enjoyed Glass Houses although I have to admit the author's repetitive use of the verb 'blurted' irritated me slightly, but that I think is a minor flaw in what is otherwise a good story with an interesting plot, and I look forward to finding out what happens next!

Books 7 & 8 - Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead (Charlaine Harris)

I completed books 7 & 8 over the weekend

LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS - Charlaine Harris

CLUB DEAD - Charlaine Harris

These are books two and three of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries series which follows the life of a telepathic barmaid named Sookie Stackhouse from Bon Temps, northern Louisiana.

If you are a fan of stories of the supernatural and indeed of the TV series True Blood, you will enjoy these books. I found them quite captivating and got through them in no time at all, now I must get and purchase the rest of the series! Definitely worth reading.

Books 3>6 - The Hunger Games, Not Without My Daughter, Dead Until Dark

While I was in hospital I managed to read the following titles -


The second book in The Hunger Games triology, and equally as attention grabbing as the first. It is a thrilling read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.


I have to admit I didn't enjoy the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy as much the first two, but it was a pleasant read with a good structure and a satisfying end to the story.


This book overwhelmed me with a plethora of emotions and is the story of one woman's struggle for freedom for herself and her young daughter from a foreign land. It was truly captivating and I found myself willing her on as she got closer to freedom. Fantastic.

DEAD UNTIL DARK - Charlaine Harris

I am a huge fan of the series 'True Blood' on FX and I have had the first three books that the series is based on for several months, and I have now finally started reading them. Being able to picture the characters made it easy to connect with the story and it really brought it to life in my mind. The story follows the life of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepath living an unassuming life with her brother and Grandmother in Bon Temps, a small town in northern Louisiana, USA who meets and falls in love with a vampire, Bill. I wholly enjoyed this book, particularly as an accompaniment to the tv show and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Book 2 - The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

I have just finished my second book

THE HUNGER GAMES - Suzanne Collins

What can I say besides WOW! I could not get enough of this book, and finished it in a single day. I bought the trilogy and have already started reading the second book. It is a truly gripping story, the suspense keeps you turning the pages and you have to know what happens next.

Set in the future, the main character is Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who has taken the place of her younger sister in The Hunger Games, an annual reality TV massacre where 24 children between the ages of 12-18 from 12 districts are forced to fight to the death. In a public arena where the rules are simply kill or be killed, the children must outwit, outfight or outrun their opponents in order to survive and be the last person standing.

Two thumbs up, utterly unputdownable!

Book 1 - The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

THE HELP - Kathryn Stockett

Now, the first thing you have to get your head around when reading this book, is that is written how it is said. Once you start reading, and imagining the voices of the women telling their stories, it flows nicely and it is so easy to lose yourself in the book.

This book is superbly written, with real laugh out loud humour and is both heart warming and heart wrenching in equal measure, making it such an enjoyable read.

It is told from the perspectives of Aibileen & Minny, the maids, and 'Skeeter' who is the idealistic young white society lady who wants to help them tell their stories despite the danger that they would face if anyone were to find out. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 "where black maids raise white children but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...", it is a poignant tale of racial intolerance and the efforts of these three ladies to try and change things for the better. The characters are believable and you are gripped from start to finish, I couldn't put it down.

A must read in my opinion, two thumbs up from me. I have even pre-ordered the movie on DVD (released next month) and I can't wait until it comes out!

Bookywookydoodah - An introduction

Bookywookydoodah is simply a place for me to blog about and review books. I will share my book reviews from the #50BookChallenge that I am currently undertaking for 2012 on here (as well as on my main blog Mama Owl - My Life & Kids) so that those people looking solely for my book reviews can find and read them quickly and easily.

As an avid reader I am keen to share my likes and dislikes with like-minded people and I hope that you will enjoy this blog. I will endeavour to be as informative as possible without spoiling the book or plot and will always be honest and objective in my reviews. Please also remember that taste is subjective, and these are my own personal thoughts and feelings.