13 Books To Go!

The challenge continues with the demise of Book 2.

Only 13 books to go on the long and winding road of my January challenge! http://greatbigjar.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/the-15-book-challenge/

I can’t believe I actually did that! In between listening to One Direction on youngest CD player for an hour and trying to re-create ‘The Best Boy Band Ever, Mum!’ by dancing round the living room, game of scrabble with oldest but only using 4 letter words (mind out of gutter please), setting up and being goalie for new football skill goals set from Santa – Shay Given you have no idea how proud I made you today and in my slippers aswell, timing the boys on how fast they can do penguin ski (don’t ask) and shoving together beef stew for visit from Papa – I managed to down Book 2 in one afternoon!

‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly – a HUGE book. Not in volume but in words. The author uses every well-known and influential writer from the day the earth began to demonstrate the longing that Mattie has to become a writer and the conflicts between herself and her family along the way. Thrown in for good measure is a murder, devious and cold that concludes the tale as if sadly, it had to happen to make the story complete. Mattie struggles with her life on her family’s farm and for a split second you feel she may turn her back on her dream, but life has a nasty way of making you see sense where you thought love and passion existed. Brilliant.

What can I say – it was one of those books that you take everywhere with you and nearly kill yourself in the process of reading it.

For example, making a cup of tea (kids, don’t try this at home) you really need to be looking at the cup and where the water is going to really get it right. A visit to the Ladies Room, I must have cracked my shin of the bottom step of the stairs about 5 times as I wasn’t looking where the first step was. Sadly I gave in and relinquished said book to the bottom of the stairs to wait for my frenzied return 2 minutes later (yes I did flush and wash my hands!). Note to self – do not wear slippers while trying to climb stairs and read book at same time. Finally, absent-mindedly agreeing to continual chocolate demolition by the boys because they know I am not listening to a word they are saying – yeh, we have all been there – admit it. OK, Ok, I’ll put the book down.

I have reviewed it on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/280654.A_Gathering_Light

It was published in 2003 and won the Carnegie Medal the same year. Finding books like this fill me with pride and longing at the same time. Proud of the author for achieving such a prestigious goal and in that moment I get to dream that I could possibly be that creatively talented – that I can do the same.

So, I am well above .73- of-a-day ahead of schedule.  I am sleepy and I’m going to bed. Probably to dream of fiercely loyal main characters in desperate need to further their writing careers above all else in this world, well maybe not all else – sounds a bit final and selfish – but you know what I mean.

Sounds a bit like me but without the selfish and final bit and more of the fierce and loyal.

Book 3 – ‘Left Neglected’ by Lisa Genova – if it’s anything like ‘Still Alice’ then I will be one happy camper!

One down…14 to go

Well, that’s book 1 completed of the 15 book Greatbigjar Book January Challenge – only 14 to go now!

The 15 Book Greatbigjar January Challenge

‘Why be happy when you can be normal?’ by Jeanette Winterson. Admittedly it was in the wee small hours that I completed it but I do remember it all – honest! After reading ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ all those years ago (I can’t believe that it was published back in 1985) this book definitely re-kindled my love of literature  that’s just a little bit different. Although this book may be a slightly sad story of family life at its worst, it keeps you guessing all the way and you smile with relief and happiness at its conclusion.

Here’s my review let me know what you think.


Now onto Book 2 – ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly, thanks for the recommendation Julie.

Read from cover to cover in 1.73 days right? Bring it on…


The 15 Book Greatbigjar January Challenge

Are you brave enough to take on this challenge? Do you choose to accept the challenge I lay before you with dignity, loyalty and courage? Then, yes, you may enter the realm of madness that is The 15 Book Greatbigjar January Challenge.

There is no room for complacency in my mad world, I do mean business. I will be reading morning noon and night as the holidays are over soon and the school run-for-your-life begins in earnest next week, but you never know. You don’t need to read the books on my list, just make your own list and see how you get on.

There have been so many books I have wanted to read over the last month or so – I now have that dreaded collection gathering vertically beside my bed, tripping me up when nocturnal trips out the room occur and stubbed toes are sadly going to be the norm from now until the small mountain is depleted.

However, it’s a new year and we need to embrace what 2013 is going to throw at us with enthusiasm and excitement (ahem – that means you Greatbigjar sitting on the sofa, still eating left over chocolate Santas from taking the Christmas tree down yesterday).

The world around me is on day 5 already and I am still only on book 1! Not a great start but I will give it my best shot and my aim is to read 15 books in 26 days! That’s 1.73 days per book – eek!

So, wish me luck, break a pencil or whatever the good luck mantra is for writers (any suggestions for this please let me know).

Here is my list, I thought I would go for old and new books as there are so many out there that I need to read again and again, they are so special in many different ways.

1. ‘Why be happy when you could be normal?’ by Jeanette Winterson – you may know this author from the best seller and TV series ‘Orange is not the only fruit’ back in 1985. This is a further look into her life as she grew up and wondered where her life may go following all the events she encountered as she grows up and leaves the nest. I’m on page 72 – yikes!

2. ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly – this is a novel published in 2003, a young girl is given letters by a guest at the hotel she works in. The book centres around the murder of that guest and the information supplied in the letters that inevitably affect Mattie, her family and friends throughout the book.

3. ‘Left Neglected’ by Lisa Genova – I recently read ‘Still Alice’ by this author and I couldn’t put it down, what an amazing book.  I thought I would try another.

4. ‘The Blackhouse’ by Peter May – I love everything about the Western Isles so I am very keen to get started on this particular book.

5. ‘Rush Of Blood’ by Mark Billingham – I bought this at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August and due to reasons unknown to me, I lost it and then found it again – yay!

6. ‘Sing You Home’ by Jodi Picoult – admittedly my first purchase from this author – please forgive me Jodi!

7. ‘The Impossible Dead’ by Ian Rankin – my favourite crime author, I will not say how long I have had this as Ian would weep and waggle his finger at me. All I can say it’s a hardback book in pristine condition and it has been kept in a safe place  – promise!

8. ‘Mother Tongue’ by Bill Bryson – why not!

9. ‘Good Behaviour’ by Molly Keane – set in the early 1900’s this book details life in a house slightly like Downton Abbey – gotta love a bit of Downton!

10. ‘Blind Eye’ by Stuart MacBride – Another book I picked up at the book festival – sorry Stuart *hangs head in shame*

11. ‘The Broker’ by John Grisham – I think ‘The Firm’ was the last one I read so I thought I had better sort that out.

12. ‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austen – I felt it was time I read something of hers that didn’t involve a half-dressed man emerging from a lake looking very dapper indeed, you know who you are Mr D.

13. ‘You Had Me At Hello’ by Mhairi McFarlane – great film quote so I thought I would see if the book was even remotely anything to do with it. Or not as the case maybe.

14. ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel – imagine being on a boat in the middle of the ocean with only a tiger for company! Well, I always prefer to read the book before seeing the film – so here I go.

15. ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window & Disappeared’ by Jonas Jonasson – the name had me intrigued, a bit like The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time.

So there you have it – my list. A little bit of everything to keep the old grey matter ticking over.

Anyone out there fancy doing this with me? Safety in numbers and all that? Create your own list send it on to everyone you know and we can eat chocolate santas together while we try to achieve what some might say is unachievable! Shame on you, whoever is saying that! But yeh you’re probably right! Oh no you’re not (in Greatbigjar pantomime style).

I think I need to work on my pep talk. Sigh.

Excellent news – my friend and fellow mad twitter junkie Sheila Hudnall (@Sheila_DFT) has agreed to take on this mighty challenge too – here are a list of her 15 books she aims to tackle before midnight on 31st January 2013:

1. The Fangover – Erin McCarthy and Kathy Love
2. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet – Darynda Jones
3. Before and Ever Since – Sharla Lovelace
4. Blessed by a Demon’s Mark – ES Moore
5. Playing to Win – Jace Burton
6. Blood and Magick – James R. Tuck
7. The Prophet – Amanda Stevens
8. Books to Die For Anthology
9. Blaze – Joan Swan
10. Demon’s Curse – Alexa Egan
11. Exposed to You – Beth Kery
12. Flip This Zombie – Jesse Petersen
11. Eay Slay Love – Jess Petersen
12. Feast of Souls – Hailey Edwards
13. Seduced by Blood by Laurie London
14.Dancing on the Head of a Pin – Thomas E. Sniegoski
15. Skinwalker – Faith Hunter
Get reading!

Happy New Year – Seven Steps To A New Me!

Happy New Year!

I don’t know whether you are like me or not but I always try to start the year off trying something new, different and possibly better for me health-wise. So, do I lay of the Chardonnay, slam the door in the face of cheese and biscuits and stop counting cocoa beans as one of my 5-a-day?  I could. But that would be dull and not very exciting in the whole grand scheme of everything resolution-like, now wouldn’t it?

So here I am, baring all to you as I make my resolutions for 2013.

1. Write one or more blog(s) every day – that’s some serious bloggage to you and I.

2. Stop making up words that don’t exist (in my mind doesn’t count, ‘bloggage’…really! I weep for the future!).

3. Read at least two books a week (20 books for January blog to follow!)

4. Re-read every single piece of literary wonder I have ever written and be ruthless with the delete button. It’s not going to sell if I’m the only one that likes it. And Neil. But he doesn’t count as he has an unbiased position in the household as Greatbigjar’s husband.

5. Reduce my time on Twitter – *puts hands up in the air* I’m addicted and it’s getting silly and I love it. ‘But it’s a fantastic networking tool’ says my inner demon. Sigh.

6. Get published. Again. But this time in my own right.

7. Write a crime novel with as much blood and guts that you can shake a shitty stick at. Details to follow…wooooo (ghostly noise).

In 2013 I will mostly be striving to love… my family even more than I do now, my bank less and to also try to find inner peace – I too want to find it like Po the Panda, without the voice of Dustin Hoffman whispering in the background though.

Onwards and upwards we go – where we will end up who knows but it’s going to be one hell of a ride!

Procrastinator Of The Year 2012 Goes To…


I think there comes a point in your life that you need to evaluate where you have been, where you are going and where you hope to be. I have so many ideas flying about my head now regarding potential books that I would never have thought about before or even considered writing as they are not my genre.

Personally, I blame my 9 cyber friends (yeh, you know who you are) – I joined their merry clan and we created what I can only describe as the most dark, zombie-filled, siren festive story I have ever had the pleasure of being involved in. http://www.kseniaanske.com/blog/2012/12/10/bloody-santa-vs-zombie-siren-chapter-7.html, the scary thing is I wrote chapter 8 and the goose bumps are rising, as I am next to have my section entered online. Not one for the kids I might add lol.

That sounds great I hear you say but I am now left with the quandary of whether I continue on this fantastic sinister road or do I go back to the fluffiness that is writing for children. My hands are up in fake surrender as those who know me, know that I love to read crime and post-mortem type books.

Maybe 2013 is the year that I go all out and write my first crime novel, filling my daily life with gore, crime and all things blood-soaked? Or do I meander through the fun-filled path where I left off writing for children? Or maybe both?

So, I sit here and procrastinate again *sigh*. Possible New Years resolution: must not procrastinate so much, get my finger out and MAKE A DECISION 🙂 Easy now, one thing at a time lol.

Maybe’s aye, maybe’s naw.