Weekly Wrap Up

Welcome if you're dropping by from the blogger hop.

If you get a chance, join in my fun Friday meme:

This weeks question is: Tell us some of your favourite authors and why they are your favourites. My three favourite authors are Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood and Richard Flanagan. I think I like them all for very similar reasons. The language is very descriptive and there is a tendency towards just telling the story as it unfolds rather than showing it unfold through lots of discussion between the characters. I always feel completely immersed when I read their novels and I always love the characters and often identify with them.

I reviewed the following books this week. I hope that you have a chance to read some of the reviews:


Murder on a Midsummer Night by Kerry Greenwood

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

An Iron Rose by Peter Temple


In other news, I completed the Aussie Author Challenge and reviewed how many of the Angus and Robertson Top 100 I had read.

I hope that all the new people that drop by this week enjoy Page Turners, and thanks again to my faithful followers!

Book Beginnings on Friday

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Becky at Page Turners. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence. (Thanks to Rose City Reader for inspiring this meme)


The Passage by Justin Cronin
 
Wow. Great book. So creepy. Seriously creepy. I am totally freaked out when I am reading it. I was so tense on the train this morning. This is a really good book.
"Before she became the girl from Nowhere - the One Who Walked In, the First, Last and Only, who lived a thousand years - She was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy."
Cool hey?! 
 
What about you? Leave a link to your Book Beginnings on Friday post in the Mr Linky below.

Murder on a Midsummer Night by Kerry Greenwood (An Australian mystery novel)


This review was posted first on Book Lovers Inc: a cooperative blog with great reviews, interviews and lots of giveaways.

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Murder on a Midsummer Night was my first experience of the fun and mysterious Phryne Fisher series by author Kerry Greenwood.

Phryne Fisher is the leading lady sleuth of this Australian mystery novel, which is based in 1920's St Kilda, Melbourne. Phryne is approached by the mother of an antique dealer, Augustine Manifold, who has recently been found dead after an apparent suicide. Augustine's mother can't believe that her happy and healthy son has taken in own life and so hires Phryne to discover the truth. Phryne's investigation leads takes her on an exciting and dangerous journey where she encounters a perplexing group of "Bright Young Things", treasure hunts, spirits and sacrifice.

Whilst investigating this murder mystery, Phryne is also hired by a solicitor to investigate the secrets of his clients, the Bonnetti family. Mrs Bonnetti has recently passed away and there is reason to believe that she has left behind an illegitimate child who is entitled to a share in Mrs Bonnetti's estate. This is a similarly difficult for Phryne, who finds herself up again and extremely suspicious and secretive family and another dangerous character.

I loved everything about this book. The two mysteries that Phryne investigates simultaneously are worked together seamlessly. When the suspense builds up in one plot, the reader is shifted to the other, leaving you feeling tantalised and hanging for more. There are lots of clues throughout the book, as well as clues in the quote at the beginning of each chapter and the glimpses of other stories at the end of each chapter. Although I couldn't solve the mystery of the Bonnetti family before the end of the book, I was able to solve the Manifold mystery before 'the big reveal', although this didn't in any way lessen my enjoyment of the book. My only complaint is that I wanted so badly to know the truth behind each mystery, I sometimes felt a little impatient and felt like I wanted the book to move a bit quicker.

The great thing about reading this book was that I felt like I had been immersed into this decadent and sumptuous roaring 20's lifestyle in Melbourne and I didn't want to leave. I will say that I was surprised at how British it felt.

Phryne Fisher is an amazing character. I want to be her and live her decadent lifestyle. I have never seen anyone who drinks so much and enjoys so much good food, I think I would have burst at the seems given that much food and booze. She is perfectly understood and taken care of by her household staff, she has adopted children to take care of an a useful companion she employs. I loved the clothes, the house, the calling cards, the changing for dinner and... the very sexy lover. I had goosebumps when I read all the fun they had together. I loved that she enjoyed sex with such an interesting man, but was happiest being an independent woman.

Since reading the book I discovered that I started reading the series with the 17th and most recent addition to this series. Although there were times where I was a little confused about what role some of the various characters played (her companion Dot in particular), the book was so well written that I was able to figure it out as I went along.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
Quick, easy and fun.

Do I recommend this book?
Yes I do, I really enjoyed it and I think that a lot of other people would too, whether you a crime/mystery rader or not.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
Yes, I think that this will be a fun one to re-read every now and again.


Star Rating

7 / 8

Brilliant, couldn't put it down. Recommend that you buy it.



Lights, Camera, Blog Action!



Just a quick message regarding Lights Camera Blog Action: I don't have anyone scheduled for today so there will be no feature.

If anyone is interested in being featured, please email me at pageturnersbooks (at) gmail (dot) com and I will happily forward you the questions.

I hope you all enjoy your Thursday.

Aussie Author Challenge Complete!!


AUSSIE AUTHOR CHALLENGE COMPLETE

Earlier this year I started up my own Aussie Author Challenge. The goal was to read more Australian books and there were 3 levels:
  • Ankle biter: 4 books
  • Grouse: 8 books
  • Bloody Oath!: 12 books
The rules were that the books must be by an Australian author and must be fiction - and that was it! It's not to late to join in - just click on the link above.

Joanne from Booklover Books is also running an Aussie Author Challenge, with similar rules, and the upper level was 8 books.

I am very happy to announce that I have finished the challenge! These are the books that I have read so far the challenge, with links to the reviews if you are interested in having a look at some of them:

An Iron Rose by Peter Temple (crime)
Boat, The by Nam Le (short story collection)
Book Thief, The by Markus Zusak (contemporary)
Capricornia by Xavier Herbert (classic)
Legacy, The by Kristin Tranter (contemporary)
Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville (contemporary)
Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings (contemporary)
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (classic)
Secret River, The by Kate Grenville (contemporary)
Spare Room, The by Helen Garner (contemporary)
Timeless Land, The by Eleanor Dark (classic)
Transit of Venus, The by Shirley Hazzard (literary)

I will still have many more Australian books read by the end of the year (in fact I have another review of an Australian book coming up tomorrow if you check back in the afternoon), but I am pleased to have completed my second challenge of the year!

Its never too late to join this challenge!

Teaser Tuesday: The Book of Lost Threads by Tess Evans


The Book of Lost Threads by Tess Evans

This is Australian author Tess Evan's debut novel. I am about a quarter of the way through it and I am definitely enjoying it. It is a lot easier and more light hearted than my normal reads, my initial reaction is that it almost borders on chick lit (I think... although I haven't read any chick lit so I wouldn't rely on that comparison at all). Anyway, here is the teaser:
"In the days that followed, Linsey's amorphous need for love took shape. A tiny phantom hand gripped her finger and drew her on to seek information, which she diligently garnered before making her approach".
This little section is quite relevant to how the story unfolds so I thought it would be appropriate to share with everyone.




Tuesday Teaser is great meme hosted by Should Be Reading and is a great way to find out about new books.Here are the guidelines: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is an epistolary novel from the perspective of Eva Khatchadourian, who is writing to her apparently estranged husband Franklin. We know from the very beginning that she is writing to her husband following an unimaginable event; her son Kevin has committed a mass shooting at his high school, killing students and teachers alike. Her letters explore a fundamental question; to what extent is she to blame her sons actions?

Eva is a happy and intelligent woman. She runs a successful business writing and selling budget travel guides, a job that allows her to travel the world on a regular basis. She is a Democrat, left wing and very suspicious of American patriotism. Strangely enough, she falls in love with Franklin, an entirely stereotypical American male who votes Republican, likes his sport and loves his country unconditionally. In Eva's earlier letters, she explores why it is they decided to have children when they were happy without them. For Franklin, children are the answer to "the big question". Eva has no such view. In the end, it feels as if Eva decides to have children more to prove something to herself and to society than out of any genuine desire.

They decide to have children and Kevin is the result. From the very beginning Kevin exhibits malicious behaviour; he throws unusual tantrums, he is not interested in any activities and his speech, motor and toilet skills appear to be deliberately delayed. Throughout his childhood Kevin is implicated in many anti-social incidents; children breaking things at play school, a young girl mutilating herself, bike accidents, bullying and brick throwing. Significantly, he is also suspected (by Eva) of having some involvement with a serious incident that befalls his younger sister Celia that sees her disabled for the rest of her life.

Eva is always suspicious of Kevin's motivations, indeed she has been since his birth from the moment that he refused to be breastfed. She is never able to think of his as being innocent of misbehaviour and instead over time she becomes locked in a power struggle with him, never able to love or trust him. This is effectively contrasted with Franklin's attitude toward Kevin. He loves Kevin unconditionally and always gives him the benefit of the doubt.

As it turns out, Eva's instincts were correct, but was it Eva's attitude that created this psychopathic Kevin?

The murder itself is so chillingly told I could barely bear to read it. The tension was such that I almost felt compelled to pace around the room as I was reading it. The twist in relation to the shootings and the twist that follows were so horrific that I could barely contain my horror and revulsion in order to finish reading the book.

I don't have an opinion as to who, if anyone, was responsible for Kevin's actions. But in exploring her own culpability, I thought that Eva was a thoroughly believable character. I don't mean to suggest that we can believe everything she has to say. The entire story is told from her perspective, and given her motive in telling the story seems to be to explore her own role in the disaster, we cannot entirely trust her perspective as being completely accurate. What I mean is that I think her character was very true to life. She was honest about her feelings and perspective on things. This meant that she wasn't always likable, but it was satisfying to see someone be truly honest about what they feel, even if it meant saying those things that you are not meant to say. This is what made her a believable character.

This book explores those deeper issues that people are sometimes to scared to really deal with. Issues like the nature vs nurture debate, the nature of evil, the culpability of society for individuals actions and the responsibilities of parenthood and the assumption that it is for everyone.

This is the most disturbing novel I have ever read. I have definitely never had such a strong reaction to a novel before. I couldn't say that it will become a favourite book, it is far too disturbing and depressing for that. I will, however, dare to suggest that it is perhaps one of the best novels I have ever read.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
Dark. Depressing. Disturbing. Emotionally challenging.

Do I recommend this book?
Yes I do, despite how horrible the story itself is. Sometimes we need to challenge ourselves emotionally and give thought to those issues that are too scary to otherwise think about. We are all responsible to each other, and I think that is an important lesson contained in this book.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
Although I won't be re-reading it any time soon, I definitely recommend that you buy it, if only to remind yourself of your reading experience.


Star Rating

8 / 8

One of the best books I have ever read.



Angus and Robertson Annual Top 100 - how many have you read?


The annual Angus and Robertson Top 100 is a list of the top 100 books as voted by Australian readers. The top 100 was recently announced and there are some surprising winners.

I have included the list below for people to have a look at. The books that I have read are in bold. How many have you read?

1 The Twilight Saga Stephenie Meyer


2 Harry Potter 1-7 J.K. Rowling

3 The Millennium Trilogy Stieg Larsson

4 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

5 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold

6 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

7 My Sister's Keeper Jodi Picoult

8 Sookie Stackhouse Charlaine Harris

9 The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger

10 The Book Thief Markus Zusak

11 Lunch in Paris Elizabeth Bard

12 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

13 Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

14 61 Hours Lee Child

15 Dragon Haven Robin Hobb

16 Vampire Academy Richelle Mead

17 The Silent Sea Clive Cussler

18 Mao's Last Dancer Li Cunxin

19 The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

20 Tuscan Rose Belinda Alexandra

21 The Power of One Bryce Courtenay

22 The Notebook Nicholas Sparks

23 The Pacific Hugh Ambrose

24 Ransom David Malouf

25 Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

26 Dear John Nicholas Sparks

27 Magician Raymond E. Feist

28 The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

29 House Rules Jodi Picoult

30 Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

31 A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini

32 Marley & Me John Grogan

33 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls Jane Austen & Steve

34 Breath Tim Winton

35 The Bronze Horseman Paullina Simons

36 Cloudstreet Tim Winton

37 The People's Train Thomas Keneally

38 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll

39 Truth Peter Temple

40 Little Women Louisa May Alcott

41 Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert

42 The Host Stephenie Meyer

43 The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown

44 The Book of Emmett Deborah Forster

45 Ice Station Matthew Reilly

46 The Road Cormac Macarthy

47 The Memory Keeper's Daughter Kim Edwards

48 Persuasion Jane Austen

49 Jessica Bryce Courtenay

50 Atonement Ian McEwan

51 Tuesdays with Morrie Mitch Albom

52 The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follet

53 The Alchemist Paulo Coehlo

54 April Fool's Day Bryce Courtenay

55 Life of Pi Yann Martel

56 Angels & Demons Dan Brown

57 The Pact Jodi Picoult

58 The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom

59 Parrot and Olivier in America Peter Carey

60 Always Looking Up Michael J. Fox

61 Seven Ancient Wonders Matthew Reilly

62 The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien

63 Nineteen Minutes Jodi Picoult

64 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Burrows

65 The Lost Symbol Dan Brown

66 Solar Ian McEwan

67 Fallen Lauren Kate

68 The Historian Elizabeth Kostova

69 P.S. I Love You Cecila Ahern

70 The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis

71 Obernewtyn Isobelle Carmody

72 A Fortunate Life A.B. Facey

73 Handle with Care Jodi Picoult

74 Cross Stitch Diana Gabaldon

75 Dirt Music Tim Winton

76 It Stephen King

77 Hourglass Claudia Gray

78 Tully Paullina Simons

79 The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley

80 Shantaram: A Novel Gregory David Roberts

81 The Princess Bride William Goldman


82 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

83 Requiem for a Species Clive Hamilton

84 The Other Boleyn Girl Philippa Gregory

85 Break No Bones Kathy Reichs

86 Animal Farm George Orwell

87 The Six Sacred Stones Matthew Reilly

88 The Five Greatest Warriors Matthew Reilly

89 Maralinga Judy Nunn

90 Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk

91 One for the Money Janet Evanovich

92 Worst Case James Patterson

93 Once in a Lifetime Cathy Kelly

94 The Stand Stephen King

95 Anybody Out There Marian Keyes

96 The Secret Rhonda Byrne

97 Temple Matthew Reilly

98 All That Remains Patricia Cornwall

99 The Slap Christos Tsolkias

100 Interview with the Vampire Anne Rice

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I am quite surprised by the Twilight series coming first, but I suppose that it is the "in thing" at the moment. It's funny that the top 3 are all series, and 2 of those 3 are young adult.
 
There are some on the list that I would really love to read, like The Slap by Christos Tsolkias, and there are others that I am surprised about, like the volume of Matthew Reilly books on the list. 
 
How many have you read? What do you think of the list?

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday, what are you reading? is now hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is a chance for us to share with other book bloggers what we have just finished reading, what we are currently reading and what we are reading next.

Just finished

Drop by tomorrow morning for my review of We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

I recently finished an Australian crime novel entitled An Iron Rose by Peter Temple, an author who recently won The Miles Franklin Literary Award. Have a read of my review if you get the chance, it was a great book.

I also finally finished the ebook I was reading, Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott (thank goodness!) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornett's Nest by Stieg Larsson. I will have reviews of these two books soon I hope.

Currently Reading

I am currently reading a very new Australian debut novel by author Tess Evans, entitled The Book of Lost Threads. I only started it this morning so I don't have an opinion of it yet.

I am also reading Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka when I get a chance, and I started Therese Raquin on ebook, so it will take me awhile to get through that.

Up Next

No idea t this stage. I did recently purchase The Passage by Justin Cronin, thought I might fit that in before all the hype takes off. I also want to read The Brief and Wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz with is another new addition to my bookshelf.... but who knows!