Book 3 – Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

2016-book3

Technically this book should have been on last years list. I started reading it right after I finished the second book. Though I never finished it till today. In fact, I stopped reading it all together. I hated it. After finishing two books basically back to back I was so annoyed with the series that I honestly couldn’t be bothered to read further.

At the beginning of this year when I closed off last years Reading Challenge I was annoyed by the simple fact that this book was still on that list unfinished, which is basically what got me back to reading it. I wanted – no, needed to finish it.

And that is exactly what I did, I finished it this morning. I was surprised by the ending. I thought that it would go one for a little while longer when I suddenly reached the epilogue. That got me confused, my first thought was that I had never before seen a fifty (or so) page epilogue. Of course as I continued reading it became clear that it wasn’t, in fact E.L. James used it to promote her new book, the whole series written from Christian’s perspective.

There is one small story about Christian as a young child right after he was adopted by his parents. The little boy with the copper colored hair who lived in silence, who was constantly living in fear because of all the things he’s seen in his short lifespan. Despite the fact that you know the background why this little boy is so scared the story is also endearing. But it reads like a fanfiction, and in this case I think that it probably was written in that way too we all know how this series started. As a fanfiction writer you often get challenged by readers and short stories are written to explore certain aspects of a story. Sometimes to explain something that happened in the past or that will happen in the future. This story gave me that exact same feel. Usually in books you won’t see that.

The second story is the basically the first chapter of the first book all over again, this time from the moment Anastasia Steele steps into Christian’s office to interview him. Immediately he wants her and it’s clear that he’s used to getting what he wants.

Are people really waiting to read that? Isn’t it enough already?

Personally I can assure you that I will not read that book, I don’t have any interest in it. Especially given that it took me this long to read the third book and I’m not sure I really want to know what Christian Grey thinks.

2015 Reading Challenge

Last year I made a post with this exact same title, this one is to close the year and once more pay tribute to the books I read in the past year. Underneath you’ll find all the links to my book-reviews.:

GravityAfgunstTwee VrouwenDeath Note
VelocityFifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades Darker
Tomorrow, When the War BeganScriptoriumThe Death of Night The Third Day, The Frost
Darkness, be my FriendNew Moan
Burning for RevengeThe Other Side of DawnThe Night is for HuntingCircle of Flight
IncurableWhile I Live Outlining your Novel
Yes, PleaseMan in the Dark

A year in hindsight

For me 2015 started and ended on a bad note and the middle of the year wasn’t much to speak of either. No, 2015 surely wasn’t what I expected it to be. There is not much you can do about it. Some things just aren’t in your control. So instead of focusing on the bad things this year offered me I want to focus on the good things.

I’m pretty sure that this is a year I’ll never forget and I have (privately) written more than enough about the bad things so there is no need to document that for futures sake.

So let’s see what I can come up with in the 2015, a year in hindsight review.

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge

On January first I started participating in the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. I signed up for 50 books, a huge number (for me anyway) which I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach by the end of the year. However the reason why I did it was because I wanted to make sure that I would get started right away, otherwise I would just procrastinate and most likely never really start. I read 21 books throughout the year even more than I had hoped for. I will make a separate post about the books I read and the extra challenge I added for myself.

Winterberg

My parents took me with them on a vacation to Winterberg, a small town in Germany which is normally especially busy during the winter because it is in an area close to the Netherlands where you can ski and snowboard. We were there in the summer and I had the best time, it was the first time – that I can remember – that we were somewhere without an ocean or a lake in sight. I didn’t really know what to expect but I loved it. It was really what I needed this year has been filled to the brim with stress. And those couple of days – also because I didn’t have my phone the mini-usb was refusing to load my phone – were spend in complete relaxation.

Nanowrimo

I was convinced that this year was doomed, it would have been the first year since I started Nano that I wouldn’t make it. Especially since I was having such a hard time in my personal life. But I made it. And so far it was the best Nanowrimo experience ever. While I was writing I found myself in the flow constantly, no matter how tense the situation was my story allowed me to step away from it all. It was an escape, I was happy that I found it because I’m not sure if I would have made it through November and December as well as I did.

Yoga

Another thing which helped me make it through this year is yoga. If anyone would have told me that I would ever be this invested in yoga I would have laughed so hard. It was something that I didn’t get, a bunch of people sitting on mats doing impossible positions and calling it relaxing. Yes, I was one of those people who’d said all of those typically comments made about yoga. And now (for the past two years) I have been one of those people. It has helped me to stay calm during situations in which I normally would have flown off the handle, which would have made the situation worse for myself.

My colleagues

Let’s face it, without them I wouldn’t have made it through this year. We are all in the same difficult and hard to explain situation, besides us no one really knows what it was like, what happened and what has been said and done to us. The way we stood up for each other and the way we stuck together is what kept us all strong no matter how hard or difficult the situation became. We made tough choices – no, strike that we had no choice, we had to do something which no one wanted to do. We did it together and it made the load lighter for all of us.

My family

Without them where would I be. Not where I am today, certainly I wouldn’t be feeling as good as I am right now. I sit here with a smile on my face writing this. Ready to put this horrible year behind me, and step into the future.

#GirlLove

I want to share this once more, #GirlLove because I think it’s important and an easy way to make the world a better place.

2016

What I hope for in the new year is not impossible, neither is it a big thing I just want to stay true to myself and continue to be this strong person. Because in these past few months I have surprised myself in a very positive way and I am proud of myself. And I like this person that I’ve become, so my wish for the new year is to continue to work on myself and more importantly I want to feel this positive about myself.

Maybe that is what I needed to learn in 2015, to finally love myself and be positive about myself.

Anyway, I wish you all the best for the new year and may all your dreams come true!

I almost wrote ‘May the odds be ever in your favor’ … but that would be weird.

2016

Book 21 -Man in the Dark by Paul Auster

maninthedark-paulausterThis is the second book I read by Paul Auster. I really like the way he writes, it’s honest and clear and at the same time there is an awful lot of mystery. It’s really intriguing to read. It takes a while before you get a grasp of what’s happening, before the pieces of the puzzle start to make sense. That is something which I really. But I wasn’t really impressed by the story in general.

I have to admit that I read through this book quite easily, but I don’t get it. I honestly don’t get the story … well I understood it but then suddenly on part of the story ended without explanation. Part of this book is about August Brill, he’s an author – a seventy two year old man, who recently lost his wife and is forced to live with his daughter and granddaughter because he was in a car wreck and his leg is shattered.

He has trouble sleeping and at night he starts to tell himself stories, the main character in them is Owen Brick a man who suddenly finds himself in an alternate world in the middle of a war.

[spoilers – highlight the text below to read]
He’s being told that if he wants to safe this ‘world’ he has to kill August Brill in his own world because that’ll stop the war. But then suddenly the story the story about Owen Brick gets interrupted and it doesn’t end. Suddenly the story goes back to August Brill and it stays with him and his grown granddaughter until the end. August isn’t killed at the end, so you never know if Owen Brick succeeds in his mission and therefor saves the alternate world from the war.
[/spoiler]

The stories by Paul Auster, at least the two stories I’ve read so far ‘Travels in the Scriptorium’ and ‘Man in the Dark’ aren’t too long. Both are well under 200 pages and they are easy reads but at this point I don’t think that I will read another book.

Have you ever read a book like that? Where you close it and you feel completely unsatisfied? I wanted to know what happened to Owen Brick if he was able to solve the war in the alternate universe.

Book 20 – Yes please by Amy Poehler

yesplease-amypoehlerI set myself the goal of reading more books, because it’s one of those thing I love to do but didn’t spend a whole lot of time on. I had a huge amount of books at my apartment but I never got around to reading them. I set the goal for myself to read 50 books, a huge amount which I knew I would never make. There is a reason why I set the goal so high, I’m a procrastinator when it comes to these things and setting the goal high meant that I had to start as soon as I could. This is the 20th book I’ve read this year and in all honesty I believe that is probably 19 books more than I read last year. But it’s December and there is no way I’ll make it. I didn’t read anything during November, for obvious reasons I was focused with Nanowrimo and dealing with a lot of personal crap which consumed most of my time.

Since I started reading this book ‘Yes please’ by Amy Poehler in the last week of August this is the book that took the longest time for me to complete. By all means that has nothing to do with the book. I’ve just been reading several books at the same time and an autobiography is the easiest one to put aside. Especially this one, it’s not a continues story of Amy Poehler’s life, it’s more compilation of personal stories with a funny undertone which you can read and put aside when needed.

Amy Poehler is one of those people who is extremely funny – in my opinion – I really like her! Even if you don’t know who she is, it’s very likely you’ve seen some of her sketches from SNL. For instance the sketches where Amy Poehler and Tina Fey portray Hillary Clinton and  Sarah Palin running for office. Or maybe you have seen them to the presentation of the Golden Globes, which they did more than once. If not, take a look at this video – take a look anyway I think it’s pretty funny.

There are a lot of different parts of this book which I loved, but the thing that really hit me was the most perfect quote that could have read last week – in regards to the position that I’m in right now. It was as if she was talking to me – if you skip the famous part – directly. It was so perfect.

‘Good or bad, the reality is most people become “famous” or get “great jobs” after a very, very long tenure shoveling shit and not because they handed their script to someone on the street.’ – Amy Poehler

I guess it was what I needed to hear at that exact point in time.

If you can laugh at the jokes that this multi-talented comedian, writer, presenter, actor, director, producer, voice-artist and now also author of her own book makes, you can laugh while reading this book. I can highly recommend it, this book really made me laugh out loud. And I had people looking at me like I was crazy, but who cares. I was having fun.

 

Book 16-17-18 The Ellie Chronicles by John Marsden

While I Live - John MarsdenIncurable - John MarsdenCircle of Flight - John Marsden

As far as I can now foresee the new country which basically starts at the end of Ellie’s farm doesn’t get a name. Neither is the country of the enemy named and since this has been the way John Marsden has written all the other books from ‘The Tomorrow Series’ I’m very confident that it will always stay that way. Reason for him to write the stories this way is obviously the fact that he choose to write about a real country at war in our world at our time where there obvious wasn’t one. He choose a setting and a time that he was familiar with – the here and now of twenty years ago – and filled it with his own stories.

At the time that I started writing this review I’ve finished the first book and started reading the second book. As I said in my last review of the last book of ‘The Tomorrow Series’ I had decided that I wanted to try and see if it would be easier to read all the books in the series and write a review about them. Mainly because it turned out to be quite hard to write a review without wanting to spoil any mayor events. But by the time I reviewed the next book, the events from the previous book were hard to deny or avoid in the reviews. There is as far as I know now one spoiler I can’t avoid no matter how hard I try.

Book 16 – While I Live

At the end of the last book in ‘The Tomorrow Series’The Other SIde Of Dawn – Ellie is reunited with her mother and her father is on the first bus that comes into Wirrawee. Fi and Homer are also reunited with their families. And Lee is reunited with his little brothers and sisters, his parents died so he’s responsible for them and decides that living in the city will be better for them. And Kevin chooses to leave Wirrawee as fast as he possibly can. A lot has changed in Australia and due to the war part of Australia has been named a new country for the people who want to settle there. Ellie and her family is lucky, they get to return to their own farm, even if they loose part of it to the new country and another part to people who lost their homes in the war. They try to make the best of the situation but it’s still a very dangerous and hostile environment. Gavin – the deaf eleven year old boy from Stratton – has no where to go and Ellie’s parents take him in. Gavin and Ellie go back to school and things seem pretty normal until one day Ellie’s parents die.

As tragic as that situation might be for Ellie, she needs to keep on fighting. This time against the unjust which is being done to her by the grown-ups around them. Ellie’s not a grown-up yet, even after everything she did she’s still considered a child and the fact that she wants to keep the farm running is not in her hands. However Ellie’s a smart girl and she won’t just give up not even when everything is literally against her. With the help of Gavin and occasionally Homer, Fi and Lee she keeps the farm going to the best of her ability.

Book 17 – Incurable

Ellie and Gavin have settled into their life at the farm and they have been managing quite well, seeing how it is just the two of them most of the time and they are both still going to school during the day. For a while Ellie has been suspecting that most of her friends – Homer, Lee, Jeremy, Jess and Bronte – are involved in ‘Liberation’. A group of people in the Wirrawee area who cross the border to help Australian prisoners of war escape from the enemy. She even thinks that Homer might be one of the leaders but he’s very secretive about it, telling her that she might meet the leaders one day if she agrees to become part of Liberation. Ellie declines, she’s too busy trying to keep the farm going while she also tries to keep Gavin in line and make sure that both of them go to school. It’s a lot of responsibilities for someone who’s not even an adult yet. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, she keeps getting pulled into post-war situations, where she has no choice but to step in even if she isn’t a member of Liberation.

Book 18 – Circle Of Flight

With Ellie being pulled into actions set up by Liberation – against her will – she is the one who gets a target painted on her back. Somehow the enemy figured out that some of the Liberation actions have originated from Ellie’s farm. Liberation tries to do what they can to keep Elllie and Gavin safe but it’s not enough. Gavin gets taken away, even despite the caution they take when the arrive home. Ellie – who sees Gavin as the only family she has left – has no choice but to go after him. Even if that takes her over the border into the heart of an ‘enemy’ city. With the help of Liberation and their informants she eventually gets there.

The end, or is it?

Obviously I’ve reached the end of the last book, ten books in total. As with ‘The Tomorrow Series’ I’m glad that I read these books too. It took me a little longer than I would have liked. But since I started reading the books about ‘Outlining your Novel’ I shouldn’t complain.

When I first read on ImdB about the television show which is in the making it was just an announcement page saying that they were making it, yet there was hardly any other information. Today I checked back and they have added cast and crew members and some filming locations. Apparently this is happening! After some googling I’ve found a Facebook page and some other pages. So this is really happening! And even after reading all of these books and now knowing everything about Ellie Linton and her friends there is to know, I’m still looking forward to this television show.

Book 19 – Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Outlining your Novel - K.M. WeilandI started reading this book with a mission in mind. As you can tell by this blog I’m once again going to participate in Nanowrimo this November. October has started and I have started my preparation as I’ve told in my last post was about Nanoprep ‘The countdown has started’. Given all that information I’m pretty sure that you can figure out why I started reading this book.

My reason and goal is to learn how to make an outline for a story, in this case an outline to help me figure out where my . Since I started out as a fanfiction writer and just a very basic idea is enough to get your story going. So there wasn’t really any need to outline –  or so I thought. Although I have to admit that I would have probably done a lot better had I used an outline for my fanfics. Because I just keep adding to the stories and I never really finish them because there is simply no ending. At any given time there are too many ideas floating around and too many story-lines to ever really finish them. Which is a whole different matter and I hope that I will get back to those stories one day, however that is not the reason why I’m writing this review.

For a while I have been reading the blog written by K.M. Weiland. Which is something I’ve really enjoyed doing so when I saw this novel and especially the topic, I needed to have it because I felt like it could teach me exactly what I needed to know or at least give me some pointers I could use during this month of preparations to get a real outline down before Nanowrimo starts.

It’s a really easy to read book with examples from books and movies throughout the years. For instance there are examples from movies like Star Wars and The Hunger Games but also from books like Wuthering Heights, which really helps with the explanation of the process of creating and outline step by step.

I really enjoyed reading this book and if you – like me – are struggling with making an outline I can really recommend this book. I also have the workbook, which gives you the assignments to create your outline one step at a time. Which is what I’m working on right now.

Book 15 – New Moan by Stephfordy Mayo

New Moan - Stephordy MayoBest review ever on this particular book is the one I read on GoodReads.com, the reviewer claimed that it was ‘unoriginal’ …. Yes, you read that right, UNORIGINAL!

Could be me, I’m not sure what they expected but of course it’s unoriginal! It’s a freaking parody, in this case being original would be a bad thing! It kind of makes me wonder if this person doesn’t know what the word ‘parody’ means or if they just didn’t get the idea behind this book.

Nonetheless it is a strange comment given that this book makes it very, very clear that it is a parody and I honestly can’t understand how you can read it any other way. Especially the part where there is a very clear and obvious reference  to the author, Stephordy Mayo. Of course it doesn’t take away to the fact that there are some people who might not be familiar with the meaning of that particular word. On the other hand if you take the time to read a book and don’t know or aren’t sure about the meaning of a specific word I would think, expect even that you would be interested enough in figuring out what the word means.

I won’t get into the story line, with the original books and films well known and too many times discussed on the net I think that there is no reason for me to write it down. It’s about an annoying teenage girl who falls in love with a ‘mysterious’ vampire who still goes to high school …

What I want to say though is that I had a lot of fun reading this book, in this case because it takes what I don’t like about Twilight and highlights those details and exaggerates them at precisely the right moment. This book made for a great read, especially since I read this ‘lighter’ material during the time that I was reading the ‘Tomorrow Series’. Which at times could be somewhat depressing, this book gave me the opportunity to read something different.

Now I really want to read a ‘Hunger Games’ parody! I am huge fan of The Hunger Games fan and it might be somewhat comfronting, but I think that as long as you don’t take this too serious you’ll be fine.

Maybe I can pick up a Hunger Games parody when the book fair is back in town in November. Don’t worry, until that time comes I have enough books to choose from.

The Tomorrow Series – John Marsden

The Tomorrow SeriesI know that I have reviewed each and every book separately in this series, however I also want to do an overall review. Why?  Because these books really mean a lot to me. If I read another series of books in this challenge – which will probably be ‘The Ellie Chronicles’ – I think that I will choose to do it differently. This was the first time that I read and reviewed books this way and it’s quite difficult to write a review without spoiling the previous books. However since some things are considered common knowledge in later books it’s quite hard to not spoil mayor plot-twists. Especially considering that some mayor players didn’t reach the end-line.

You can read every book on it’s own and review them book by book. Yet, only after you’ve read everything, you can write a truly honest review. And that is why I decided that I wanted to write this overall review.

As I’ve said before – more than once – I read the first book when I was about fourteen years old and at the time I read a lot of books. But this one always stayed with me. I was able to recall details from it much more vividly than I ever could with any other books I’ve read. It made a huge impact on me. I think partly because this is a ‘realistic’ book and at the time I read a lot of fantasy – this could really happen. There is nothing wrong with fantasy, however this book’s realism made me wonder about things you might not wonder about at that age.

I was in awe with the things that these kids knew and did. I mean I wouldn’t know how to fire a gun – I guess I could learn, but learning because you need it to survive or learn it as a skill while you grow up are two different things – you can’t compare the two. Neither would I know how to survive in the bush, or live off the land. Of course we don’t have a bush in the Netherlands, so it’s not knowledge which I would need. And with our cities and towns so close together survival skills is not something which you learn from an early age on. So I was amazed and I also knew that we over here would be screwed if anything like this would ever happen here. At the same time the way that they had been blind sighted by the enemy would be a lot harder to pull off in an overcrowded area like we have here in Europe.

And then there is the fact that these teenagers where only a little bit older than I was at the time. So you constantly keep comparing yourself to them. Would I be able to do what they did? Could I kill a soldier? If the choice was one of life and death, I think that I would find the strength to at least do something to keep myself safe. Would I survive? I don’t know and I hope that I will never find have to find out. But those statements truly explain why I love the way that John Marsden writes so much. He makes them and the situations they find themselves in so real, they are such typical teenagers that they could actually be your friends. I really think that he nailed their characters. All of them. All the different characters and their antics – each individual is different and the way they respond in each situation is so realistic. I am simply in awe with the man’s writing style.

Through all of these years every now and again this book would come to my attention and I always wondered what happened to Ellie and her friends, and at the end of the first book you really wonder about Kevin and Corrie. Finally being able to read what happened to everyone meant a lot to me. And I’m glad that I took the time to read these books. John Marsden is an amazing writer who’s books I will forever recommend to anyone who will listen to me.

I applaud John Marsden for the amazing books he wrote, for not stepping away when things got hard. For taking the steps necessary to write the journey of a year in the life of Ellie and her friends. And for not stepping away from the true devastation a war brings. The loss of ones home and the security they find in their family and friends. The loss of hope, pain and anger so well written that it at times made me cry.

My favorite book

I guess that this can’t be a surprise, my favorite book will forever be the first book ‘Tomorrow,  When The War Began’. I really enjoyed reading it again, even though I’d seen the movie pretty recently. There were still a lot of moments I couldn’t remember which made re-reading the book a very pleasurable and still interesting thing to do.

When I read ‘The Killing Frost’ I didn’t think that it was possible to let these teens cause any more destruction than they did in that part of the story. But I was wrong … I was so wrong! There was so much more destruction they could cause. Burning For Revenge’ showed us really how much destruction five teenager without hope on a true suicide mission can cause.

My least favorite book

I guess when it comes to my least favorite book I would have to say ‘Darkness Be My Friend’. With that I’m not saying that it is a bad book, it was just a less interesting part of the overall story line. It’s smack dab between two action packed books, so the story line needed to settle down a little bit to stay realistic, I guess. It’s the natural ebb and flow of life.

There might be a television show in the future

I recently found an ImdB page for a ‘Tomorrow, when the war began’  television show. I don’t know how much of this is really true or if it’ll ever happen. But if there’ll be a television show, I will make sure that I can watch it one way or another. I think these books could be a really good foundation for a television show, especially if you look at the type of shows which have recently been produced.

Go read the Tomorrow Series, really do it now !

Book 14 – The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden

The other side of dawnThe last book in the ‘Tomorrow Series’, I’ve finished it. The whole story consists of 1900 pages, give or take. I can’t believe it! Like I said before – I mentioned it many times, I am aware – I read the first book almost twenty years ago and now in a matter of a couple of months I read all seven books in the series. And I’m looking forward to read ‘The Ellie Chronicles’, the three books which take place after the war.

As this is the last book you might want to know what the other books were about. If you like to read the other reviews I wrote, you can find them here – ‘Tomorrow, when the war began’, ‘The Dead of the Night’‘The Third Day, the Frost’, ‘Darkness be my Friend, ‘Burning For Revenge’ and ‘The Night is for Hunting’.

What can I say about this book, well only one thing really …. the war is over! But in some ways it feels like it’s only just beginning…

‘The Other Side of Dawn’ that title is a pretty big give-away that the war is ending and the people of Australia can turn a new leaf, start a new day. At the same time there is also something really worrisome about the new situation that the Aussies find themselves in.

First let’s go back to the beginning of the book. From Colonel Finley they get the news that the war is at a very crucial turning point and that they – if they choose to take the job (yes, that’s a movie reference) – can make a real difference. Colonel Finley tells them that someone will visit them for twenty four hours, he’ll bring some goodies with him which will help them in their mission to attack and confuse the enemy.

But this book wouldn’t be interesting if everything went according to plan. So I can guaranty you that it won’t go as planned and that is where the real story starts.

You should really read the book to figure out what happens to Ellie and her friends, her family. The farm that she grew up on and the town of Wirrawee.

One thing I figured out while I wrote there reviews…

While I was reviewing these books I kind of ran into a problem. Reviewing one book is one thing, however reviewing a whole series is a whole different matter. It’s difficult, I hadn’t expected that. You are trying not to spoil too many plot points but when you get to the next book the spoiler you didn’t want to give in the previous review has become ‘common knowledge’. And I guess that it is really difficult to write reviews for books in a series.

So I have decided that I want to write an overall review for the seven books. In which I will explain what I thought of the overall story line and the character development as well as my opinion on the best book and my least favorite book.

And when I read ‘The Ellie Chronicles’ I won’t post the review till I’ve finished all three books to see if it will be easier to write review without spoiling the storyline.