As well as taking on the '52 books in 2015' challenge on Goodreads, I also found an A-Z author challenge which I have been going a little bit crazy over! (Doesn't help that I have a very competitive brother to contend with...)
Having started the challenge 3 and a half weeks ago, I am already on I, so will give a quick overview of the challenge so far.
A: Mitch Albom - First Phone Call from Heaven
What a crazily beautiful book to begin with! I love Mitch Albom because he always adds a sprinkle of magic to his work, which makes you so happy to read it. This story was about people from a certain town in America who started to receive phone calls from their loved ones who had died. It was so heart-warming to read of the comfort it brought people, and I was devastated when I thought it may not be true (in the context of the book, of course!) I loved the ending, and just like with every other Mitch Albom book, finished it with a smile on my face.
B: Laura Bates - Everyday Sexism
So I obviously took a very different path with this one. This book sprouted from the Everyday Sexism project launched by Bates on social media to get women speaking up about incidents of sexism that occur in everyday life, and often go unnoticed. I am in two minds about this, because although I acknowledge that some women reported horrific experiences, criminal acts by men which reach well beyond the realms of sexism, I do think that this forum allowed a lot of women to complain about things that really didn't warrant such a level of complaint! At the end of the day, if somebody is offended by something that is said to them or happens to them, it should not have to be defined as sexism or racism or any other label for it to be taken seriously!
C: John Connolly - Bad Men
I was excited about this book because I had been strongly recommended it by a colleague of mine. On the surface it looks like an everyday crime novel (other than the large moth on the front cover instead of the generic terrified girl or bloody dagger), but my expectations couldn't have been much more wrong. Connolly injects a spice of the mystical into his stories, which move them from a normal crime level, to an almost supernatural edge. While I can see why so many people may like this, it wasn't my thing really. I wouldn't have minded so much if all the loose ends were tied up at the end, but the lingering mystery at the end did annoy me.
D: Lucy Dillon - One Small Act of Kindness
This is a perfect example of me falling prey to a pretty cover...how lovely is this?! It caught my eye as I was on my way out of Waterstones Picadilly (arguably my favourite place on Earth), and I couldn't help but pick it up and find my way back to the till. It sounded like such an uplifting story about the good of humanity, and I wasn't far wrong!
It had a great edge on the usual 'chick flick' novel, with Alice having an accident and forgetting who she was...a fact that her ex-boyfriend decided to take advantage of. There was a lovely romance brewing by the end, and my only criticism was that I didn't get to hear enough about the happy ending!
E: Imogen Edwards-Jones - Hotel Babylon
I had very high hopes for this book, particularly after I read Hospital Babylon and thought that was great, and felt I ought to read the book that inspired it. It had been sitting on my bookshelf for ages, and the A-Z challenge gave me the push I needed to read it. I have to say that unfortunately I was disappointed. I was expecting the same kind of scandalous stories found in Hospital Babylon, but I probably should have realised that I would never find this quite so shocking, seeing as I have worked for over a year in hospitality! Having said that, it was a quick and easy read...so not a wasted day! Plus it did have me giggling away at times...people have such a cheek sometimes!
F: Jane Fallon - The Ugly Sister
I was conscious that I did not want to spend too much more money buying lots of books for this A-Z challenge, which meant that I had no choice but to read chick lit for F and G. This book reminded me why I decided to expand my horizons away from chick lit. I just couldn't get intimate with the characters, so I really didn't care what happened to them! Although saying that...I really did hate Cleo! I was hoping she would come round in the end and we would see the good girl we had met at the start, but she ended just as bitter as she was when I first began to despise her!
G: Jane Green - The Other Woman
Perhaps because I had just had such a bad time reading 'The Ugly Sister', I actually enjoyed this much more. A couple close to marriage, a baby on the way and an over-powering mother-in-law...a classic story, but Green wrote it well, so it was an enjoyable read.
H: Emma Healey - Elizabeth is Missing
I have been thinking about this book a lot since I reviewed it on Goodreads, trying to work out why my review was so much more negative than most other people. I think I have worked it out...from its critical acclaim and categorisation, I was expecting a crime novel. I love a fast-paced crime thriller, so this rambly tale written from the perspective of an 82-year old suffering with dementia seemed to drag a hell of a lot. However I try and make excuses for this though, I really did not like this book, and would not be in a rush to recommend it to everyone, despite its nominations for 'best debut novel' etc...
Okay, so that turned out to be a bit of a mammoth first post! But don't worry, from now on they should be coming one at a time.
The next may take a while as I have committed to the 720-page John Irving novel "A Prayer for Owen Meany", so expect some silence for a while! Hopefully it'll be worth it! :)