c Reading Challenge 2016 Update 2 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Reading Challenge 2016 Update 2

My 2016 Reading Challenge continues. I am still on course to read 20 books during the year, I have made progress with my plan to include well known authors and books that are seen as classics.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I received this book many years ago as a secret Santa present. It has been on my bookshelf patiently waiting for me to read it, along with a few other books by Charles Dickens. The big question is: Was it worth the wait? 

Yes, although I am regretting waiting so long. It took me quite a few chapters to adjust to Dickens style of writing, very wordy and descriptive, typical for its time I understand. But it really is worth persevering.  
Book synopsis : After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
Dickens has such a skill in his writing, I even liked the unlikable characters. Though I am not sure it was intentional, at first I found Charles Darnay not to be a terribly interesting character - this soon changes. I particularly liked Jarvis Lorry, an aged banker at Telsons who links together the main characters in the story.  There is always a purpose to even the smallest element of the story line, it all unfolds and links together as you progress through the book. So you do have to keep your whits about you, so as not to miss anything.
I was very surprised by Dickens description of the French Revolution scenes, very gruesome indeed. There are twists and turns a plenty in this book. After struggling with the first 50 pages I soon found myself immersed in the story and having great empathy for many of the characters.  
Having watched numerous drama adaptations of Dickens on tv, I have always wondered why this book had never made it to the small screen. Having read the book I can see how a tv production would struggle to recreate the scale of the French Revolution scenes both with numbers of actors involved and historical setting, not to mention the violence.

I am certainly now more informed about this period of history, and will certainly read another book by Dickens from my bookshelf. 

I scored this book 4/5 on Goodreads. 
The Tale of Two Cities is available to download to kindle for free, click on my image below to download from Amazon now. 


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I had heard so many good things about this book, yet avoided   reading too many reviews that would give away the story. For me this is a must read, an essential addition to your bookshelf. I don't think I even read a full synopsis of the story, with the book receiving such positive comments on Social Media I knew it would be a great read. 
Book Synopsis:   Every day the same.Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.  Until today. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
The story moves at quite a pace, flipping between time frames whilst you follow the life of Rachel. Which at first had me a little confused, but actually captures the chaos of the character Rachel very well. The book will leave you questioning yourself and what you think you know about some of the characters. It was easy to jump to conclusions, and as a reader it even had me pondering on how I judged someone on what I assumed to be the truth. Would I have had the patients, the friendship and loyalty to stick  by and help a friend. I just could not put this book down, and read it within a few days. 
You will not look through the window of your next train journey in quite the same way. If you have not read this book yet, download it today and put right that wrong. A thoroughly good read!

I scored this book 5/5 on Goodreads, a must for everyones bookshelf.

A Day at the Office by Matt Dunn
Not my usual book to read. But I had a choice of a free book to download from a bar of chocolate I bought a few years ago and this has been on my Kindle app ever since. I was having a down day, that is I was choosing to have a relaxing day, not that I was a misery guts. Some days it is good to put your feet up, drink tea, eat biscuits and read - totally ignore your to do list. 
Book synopsis: For most people, Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinners. But for five of Seek Software’s employees, it’s shaping up to be as much fun as a trip to the dentist.
Long-term singleton Sophie has a crush on colleague Nathan but worries he doesn’t even know her name. And is there really any point in her sending a card to the man who organises the annual office Anti-Valentine’s party?
Overweight, insecure, and still living with his mum, Calum’s desperate for a girlfriend. He’s recently met the woman of his dreams online but his exaggerated profile might mean tonight’s first date could also be their last.
Mark’s been besotted with Julie since she kissed him at the office Christmas party. While she doesn’t seem to remember a thing, today might be his best chance to remind her. If only he could work out how.
This little gem of a book was a very easy read, the story is much as the title describes it follows the day of a number of staff that all work at the same company. That day just happens to be February 14th, Valentines Day. 

I enjoyed this book, it was light hearted, humorous tale following peoples adventures. Those desperately trying to embrace the spirit of Valentines Day or those doing their best to avoid it. I am quite sure you will identify one or two of the characters to someone in your own office. After all there is always someone who knows how to stretch their lunch hour into 3 hours. I was not expecting it to be such a funny book, I think the author captures the English sense of humour very well.  
I scored this book 3/5 on Goodreads.


You can keep up to date with my past and present reads by visiting my Goodreads page, see the link in the sidebar on the right hand side of your screen. Or read my reviews on the first four books of my 2016 Reading Challenge from March.

Have you read any good books of late?

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I really do appreciate you leaving me a comment, and I enjoy reading them all.
Angela x

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