A very mixed start to 2016!

Firstly, I want to say Happy New Year to you all. I know it is a little late, but after the New Year celebrations in St. Petersburg, Russia, I have been busy...reading mostly! So, in this post, I want to tell you my "Reading Resolutions" for 2016, and to review what I have read so far since the turn of the year.

Reading Resolutions for 2016

1) read 50 books - I know I have read more than 100 books in each of the last two years, but we have to start somewhere!

2) read 4 classics

3) explore new fantasy worlds

4) to be completely up-to-date with Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm - this could pose a challenge as Cloven Hooves isn't in print any more, nor is it on kindle. If anyone could help me out, I'd be grateful!

5) Read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - I became an Atheist in 2015, and I am curious about this book

6) To read everything in my NetGalley accepted list! - THAT will be a challenge!


So far this year, I have finished two books and abandoned one. Let's start with the poor...

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I must confess to be very disappointed by this book. I gave it a really good try, managed to read just over a 3rd of it, but couldn't start the tedium any more. The writing style was ok, and the characters were actually really good, but the story itself was just so dull! When I read a novel, I don't expect to read a history of a convent for 40-50 pages in the middle of it. It just doesn't interest me to know the names of all the nuns who ever lived there. Nor was I anticipating 5% of the book to be about Waterloo which had nothing to do with the main character, at least not in the part I read.

Star rating: well, I gave up so I can't really give it a rating, but I guess if I had to I would say 2 from 5 - good characters, and not bad writing style, but bored to tears!

The good news is that this book was sandwiched between two gems.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Ok, this was a reread, and I started it on New Years Day. It was one of the best starts to a year for reading that I could have asked for. Sir Terry has been one of my favourite writers for many years and is always a trusty read. Also, Neil Gaiman is one of those writers that you just can't hate. What inspired me to reread Good Omens was a podcast I heard from Penguin where Neil was being interviewed about the book by Richard E Grant. A link to The Penguin Podcast can be found HERE.

The characters of this book are so funny, and so ridiculous that they seem eve more believable than ever. Adam Young, the antichrist, is so much like William Brown from the Just William books that, when you know it, it is obvious that the two writers were inspired by the books. Newt is a bit like me in many ways, apart from the fact that I can't drive and didn't want to join the army. The rest of the characters do more than fill in the plot. They make the book. The four horsemen and the OTHER four horsemen for example make a nice interlude at times.

The plot is fairly straightforward. The humour is obvious, although it is not clear which great writer wrote which passages. This book has become one of my favourites.

Star rating: 5 from 5 - apocolyptically brilliant!

How The Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman

This was a lovely short read for fans of Neverwhere, and was the perfect antidote to Les Miserables! Although it is only short the main character is clearly defined, the plot is easy to follow with the right twists for this piece, and again the humour is there, albeit a little dryer than in Good Omens. It only takes a little time to read, but it is definitely worth it!

Star rating: 4 from 5