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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Hayley

Hayley's Book Bundle Challenge

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Basically I've decided I should start trying more types of books. Most of the time I just stick to authors I read all the time (like Terry Pratchett...) but a lot of the time when I do try other kinds of books, I really like them.

 

So, I'd read about the 'book bundles' offer WhSmith were doing on here, and when I noticed they were on sale I thought it would be a good opportunity to make myself try books I wouldn't necessarily have picked up otherwise. I got a Classics bundle, a Sci-fi and Fantasy bundle and a best selling fiction bundle.

 

The challenge I'm setting myself is to at least try every book that came, even if it's one I think I really won't like, because you never know (and I think I owe it to my poor post man, those boxes were heavy!)  :D

Here are the books...

 

Best Selling Fiction:

 

Hilary Mantel - Fludd

M.L. Stedman - The Light Between Oceans

Ian Banks - The Bridge

Paul Murray - Skippy Dies

Jess Walter - Beautiful Ruins (out of all the books this is probably the one I'd be least likely to pick for myself)

John Green - Paper Towns

Ben Aaronovitch - Rivers of London

Joanne Harris - Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé (the 'e' should have an accent, [which I have added - Janet  :)  ]  I couldn't work out how to do it on here!)

Stephen King - The Shining (I'm thinking don't read this one before bed... :hide: )

Corban Addison - A Walk Across the Sun

 

Sci-Fi and Fantasy:

 

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy of Four (I was so exited this was in there, I've wanted it for ages! :smile: )

Peter V. Brett - The Daylight War

Stephen Jones - Zombie Apocalypse

Joe Abercrombie - The Blade Itself

Jim Butcher - Storm Front

Multiple Authors - Songs of the Dying Earth (not sure whether I'll understand all these since they're a tribute to Jack Vance and I haven't actually read any of his books...)

James Herbert - The Fog

Ian M. Banks - Look to Windward

Stephen King - Cell

(I also got 'The Return of the King' in this bundle but I'm not including it because I want to finish the first two books first!)

 

Classics:

 

Kurt Vonnegut- Cat's Cradle

John Le Carre - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird

Robert Lewis Stevenson - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Horror (I've actually read Jekyll and Hyde but not the other stories included)

 

(I'd already read most of what I got in the classics bundle, so it's a bit thin compared to the others... I did get some nice editions though that I wanted to keep. In case anybody's interested the other books in the bundle were Bram Stoker's Dracula, George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Jane Austen's Emma, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).

 

 

Now I just have to work out where to start... ideas anyone? :readingtwo:

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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy!!! LOL, yes they are a favorite :), they are also the only books I recognise in the list of books. I wish you luck though!

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I loved these:

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy of Four (I have a big omnibus, absolutely loved these books)

Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird (I read it in secondary school for English class and liked it at the time, but it's been quite some years so I might re-read it and see how I get on then)

 

On my TBR:

M.L. Stedman - The Light Between Oceans (heard good things)

John Green - Paper Towns (several people on the forum quite liked this one I think)

Stephen King - The Shining (this is a famous horror book)

Peter V. Brett - The Daylight War (I haven't read it yet but it's book three, I plan to read it soon and then should be able to tell you if you can read it on its own, I love the first two books)

Iain M. Banks - Look to Windward (I liked the other books by him I've read, I haven't read this one yet, it's part of the Culture series but they can all be read as standalones iirc)

Stephen King - Cell (I think this is a short story collection if I remember it okay)

Kurt Vonnegut- Cat's Cradle (I believe I own this one on Kindle)

John Le Carre - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (I have this one in Dutch)

Robert Lewis Stevenson - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Stories (I think this is the title I have, I haven't read it yet)

 

I believe these are on my wishlist:

Paul Murray - Skippy Dies

Joe Abercrombie - The Blade Itself

Jim Butcher - Storm Front

 

Good luck with the challenge! A few years ago I decided to try some more different genres too and I ended up liking a lot of books I perhaps wouldn't have picked up many years ago. I hope you have some enjoyable reads ahead of you :)!

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Great idea for a challenge, Hayley.  :)  Good luck.

 

^ I've put your rogue é in for you - I just copy and paste it from word.  :)

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I usually use left alt + 1 3 0 on the numpad (with Num Lock on). Alternatively some keyboard set ups allow me to type 'e which changes into é, but that's only when I use a Dutch keyboard set up for this.

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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy!!! LOL, yes they are a favorite :), they are also the only books I recognise in the list of books. I wish you luck though!

 

Thank you! I was tempted to read it straight away, but since it's the only book I actually wanted to buy anyway it felt a bit like cheating, so I'm going to try and save it for a while  :giggle2:

 

Great idea for a challenge, Hayley.  :)  Good luck.

 

^ I've put your rogue é in for you - I just copy and paste it from word.  :)

 

Thanks Janet, I don't know why I didn't think of pasting it from word, seems obvious now! :doh:

 

Athena, you have quite a lot of these book on your TBR! It's good motivation to hear positive things about them! I didn't even notice that The Daylight War was the third in a series, I'd definitely appreciate you letting me know if it can be read on its own :smile:

 

I think I'm going to start with either Storm Front or The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, since it's crime and thriller month! I'll see which one I feel most like reading later on...

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I read 'The Spy That Came In From The Cold' years ago and really enjoyed it, it's a great introduction to spy thrillers.  It is so hard to believe that the Cold War actually took place in the way that it did, and in such recent times too.  

 

Great challenge Hayley, such a clever way of trying new genres. :smile:

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I would highly recommend The Light Between Oceans and Paper Towns (which I only finished a week or two ago), both excellent books and 5/5's for me. :)

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I would highly recommend The Light Between Oceans and Paper Towns (which I only finished a week or two ago), both excellent books and 5/5's for me. :)

 

Yay that sounds promising :D  I did like the look of Paper Towns as soon as it came actually, I might make that my second read.

 

That's quite strange that they put books in a bundle from further up a series. I wouldn't suggest The Daylight War on it's own to be honest.

 

I thought that too, but then I suppose it is a good way of getting you to buy the rest of the series! Did you enjoy the series Michelle?

 

I read 'The Spy That Came In From The Cold' years ago and really enjoyed it, it's a great introduction to spy thrillers.  It is so hard to believe that the Cold War actually took place in the way that it did, and in such recent times too.  

 

Great challenge Hayley, such a clever way of trying new genres. :smile:

 

Thank you :smile:  As it comes so highly recommended, I decided to start with The Spy That Came In From The Cold. I've only read a few pages so far so I cant say much about it, but I do want to keep reading and find out what happens next so that has to be a good sign!

 

Blurb for anybody interested....

 

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold:

 

Alec Leamas is tired. It's the 1960's, he's been out in the cold for years, spying in the shadow of the Berlin Wall for his British masters. Now Control wants to bring him in at last - but only after one final assignment. He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, it may prove the worst thing he could ever have done.

 

I'll probably have limited reading time over the next couple of weeks. I'm supposed to be going to Pembrokeshire for a few days (so really hoping the flooding isn't too bad by then!), and then the week after I have a pretty big chunk of work to finish.

So many books, not enough time! :readingtwo:

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I've just finished the first book of my challenge, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and it was brilliant. I genuinely never would have picked it up in a shop just out of interest, it's not a genre I'm particularly interested in, or set in a time period I would usually enjoy. But it was really, really good. There's such an air of mystery, of things not quite understood or fully revealed, that you feel the need to really absorb every sentence, to try and work out exactly what is happening. There are even quite long sections of the book where nothing exciting is happening at all, but you still feel that these mundane things are important in some way, it's still gripping. There are a few surprising twists along the way too which are so cleverly done, it is an amazing piece of writing.

Also the introduction to the penguin modern classics edition (written by William Boyd) is a really good addition. Although the ending of the book isn't in any way misleading, the literal facts are easy to understand, the introduction (not to be read until after the book) explains some fine details which I didn't pick up on myself, and which make the ending of the book just fit perfectly.

 

I'm going to choose my next book tomorrow, but I think it's between The Light Between Oceans and Paper Towns, based on Chaliepud's recommendation :smile:

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That's great to hear, that you enjoyed The Spy Who Came in from the Cold! The book is on my TBR. I've heard good things about both The Light Between Oceans and Paper Towns, both are on my TBR. Whichever you pick to read, I hope you enjoy it :)!

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Thank you Athena :smile:

 

I've decided to go for The Light Between Oceans, not for any particular reason really, I just read the blurbs of both books and felt like reading this one. Here's what the blurb says...

 

'A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper's island. It holds a dead man and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.

They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.'

 

So I thought that sounded pretty intriguing! It reminds me a bit of a book I finished recently, Half Broken Things, although that took more of a psychological, slightly creepy angle. The front of the book says 'This is a story about right and wrong and how sometimes they look the same...'. I think that's an interesting issue to explore so I'm hoping this book will do it well :smile: .

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Glad you enjoyed your first book of the challenge, Hayley! I read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold a year or two ago, and thought it was great too. :)

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I'm so glad you enjoyed 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'. There is always that moment of *gulp* when you say how much you enjoyed a book that someone is about to read. :smile:

 

'The Light Between Oceans' sounds great - I have had to wish list it! I look forward to reading your review.

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Thanks Alexi and Chrissy :smile:

 

I haven't finished the book yet (nowhere near) but I thought I'd just pop back to the thread to say it's not going slowly because I'm not enjoying the book, I've just had a lot of work to do this week, which involved a lot of reading other stuff. There's only so may words my brain can cope with in one day! :giggle2:

 

I'm enjoying the book so far though. Although I'm only up to chapter 4, it's looking promising :D

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Hmm,

 

I've already read most of those books in the Sci-fi/horror/fantasy bundle and most in the Classic bundle.  I'd have to look to the best selling bundle for new reads.

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Hmm,

 

I've already read most of those books in the Sci-fi/horror/fantasy bundle and most in the Classic bundle.  I'd have to look to the best selling bundle for new reads.

 

I was worried about this happening, and I was a little disappointed with the amount of classics books I'd already read, but I did still get some nice new editions. I do think they're worth it, I mean there's so many books in each category, it's extremely unlikely you'll have read every book in the bundle, and the bundle itself is only the price of one paperback, which is pretty good!

 

I finished The Light Between Oceans last night and was slightly traumatised :giggle2:  they mean it when they say it will break your heart, the whole theme is just so sad! I think though with this one I did feel a little more that it wasn't 'my kind of book'. There was a point in the middle when I felt like some of the chapters were unnecessary and it was dragging on a bit. But I don't think this was really a flaw in the book, I think it's just because I don't particularly like the sort of book where a lot of attention is given to the everyday emotional side of things, rather than advancing the plot, I find it a bit frustrating. I think it's why I don't tend to like romance books (although it's only fair to point out that I wouldn't actually call this book a romance, even though it is very relationship focused). But for something that's 'not really my thing', I did enjoy reading it generally, particularly towards the final few chapters, I loved the tense mystery side of things, and I'm definitely glad I read it. I didn't like it as much as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but that was quite a lot to live up to :D

 

I picked my next book earlier, I wanted to go for something from the sci-fi / fantasy bundle next so I've read one from each, I'm going to try Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Here's the blurb....

 

'Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago's first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the 'everyday' world is full of strange and magical things - and most of them don't play well with humans.

That's where Harry comes in.

 

Harry is the best at what he does - and not just because he's the only one who does it. SO whenever the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers.

But business isn't just slow, it stinks.

 

So when the police bring him in to consul on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting.'

 

When I first read 'Wizard P.I.' I thought, oh dear this might be really cheesy. But then I suppose the vampires, witches, werewolves, trolls etc. of Discworld sound cheesy on the surface, but I love those books. So I'm hoping it will just be unique and interesting!

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I'm glad to hear you're having fun reading the books :). I hope your next read will be fun too (there are a few people on here who love Jim Butcher's books, I haven't read one yet).

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Thanks Athena :)

 

I did like Storm Front, I finished it last night. There were a couple of negatives... firstly I worked out who the killer was pretty much at the beginning, and I thought it did seem a bit unlikely that the main character took so long to figure out that link. It also always annoys me slightly when fantasy (or sci-fi) books continuously bring up over-the-top sexual themes. I think I've had that rant before so I won't start again, but I just don't think that's what the fantasy genre should be about. But there was actually a purpose behind most of the sexual themes in the book, it at least fitted in with the story, so it didn't put me off too much in this case. And it was a good mystery. Even though I'd already worked out the killer, there were still some good twists and the last half of the book really had that 'just one more chapter...' appeal to it. It wasn't anything mind-blowing, but it didn't try to be either, it was just a fun-to-read murder mystery with a fantasy twist, and it did it's job :smile:  

 

I think I'm going to go back round to classics now and read Cat's Cradle. Here's the blurb...

 

'Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding 'fathers' of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to humanity. For he is the inventor of ice-nine, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. Writer Jonah's search for its whereabouts leads him to Hoenikker's three eccentric children, to an island republic in the Caribbean where the religion of Bokononism is practised, to love and to insanity. Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction is a funny and frightening satire on the end of the world and the madness of mankind'

 

This is only a short book, and I'm hoping it won't be too heavy-going. I had a look at the introduction and it compared the book to Samuel Beckett's play 'Endgame', which I didn't get at all and to be honest didn't like. So hopefully they aren't that similar :giggle2:

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You haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird yet? I (respectfully) demand that it is promoted to next on your list...

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You haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird yet? I (respectfully) demand that it is promoted to next on your list...

 

:giggle2:  I'm planning to go classics, bestselling, sci-fi/fantasy. Until I run out of classics. But To Kill A Mockingbird can certainly be promoted to my next 'classics' read if it comes that strongly recommended :D

 

I'm hoping to finish Cats Cradle soon. It's a really short book and I probably would have finished it by now but I've had quite a hectic week (which included my memory stick breaking, although hopefully I'll be getting the files back from it this week). It is quite a strange book, but nowhere near as strange as Endgame, so I was quite pleasantly surprised there. I at least don't have to read a chapter 3 times to make sure I know what's actually going on! But I'll be able to say more once I've finished, so back to reading... :readingtwo:

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I finished Cat's Cradle last night. Anybody I have on Goodreads may have noticed already I gave it two stars, or 'it was ok'. I found it quite difficult to rate really. I think with books that have been categorised as 'classics' you always have a slight sense that there must be something amazing about it, maybe it's just you missing it. But if I'd picked the book up not knowing anything about it, I think two stars is what I'd have given to it.

I'll get negatives out of the way first. It really wasn't my kind of book. The whole thing is basically ironic satire, with a general message that humans are stupid, everything is pointless and then you die. At times it's almost fairly funny, these are the best parts, but there aren't enough of these to say the book is really humorous. A technical negative was I found that although the main character was often relatable, there were other times, particularly towards the end of the book, where I just felt that was lost and I didn't really understand what he was thinking any more. My final negative is that I felt there were multiple occasions where the author was poking fun at religion. I don't think it's ever ok to mock what other people believe and I didn't think it was funny, it just made me feel uncomfortable.

But there were positives. The characters were interesting, often very over-the-top but it fitted with the book. I liked the layout of the book, it's incredibly short sections made it easy to read. The concept of the weapon was interesting, so was the exploration of the use (or misuse) of science. And you can definitely say it's unique.

 

It's one from the bestsellers list now and I've decided to go for Paper Towns by John Green based on Chaliepud's recommendation :smile:

 

Blurb...

'Who is the real Margo?

 

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent, adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she opens his bedroom window late one night and summons him to join her on an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to find that Margo has not. Always an enigma, she now becomes a mystery and Q soon learns that there are clues to be followed in his search for Margo'

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It's a shame you didn't really like Cat's Cradle, I don't know much about it myself to be honest. I have Paper Towns on my TBR, I hope you enjoy it more than you did Cat's Cradle :)!

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Thanks Athena, I really did enjoy it more, Paper Towns was amazing! I actually don't think I have any negatives for it. It is so well written I don't know where to start complementing it. It's a brilliant portrayal of friendship, emotion and how we view the world and people around us. But it's also incredibly gripping and fast paced, as well as funny in just the right amount. The characters were just excellent. There were times when it's pretty easy to figure out some of the 'mysteries' before the main character, but it just does't matter, because you feel the truly important thing is his discovery, and what it will lead him to do next. It was just a beautifully written book, and I would absolutely recommend it to anybody.  :smile:

 

I have a little confession to make about my next read... my sister bought me two books I really wanted for my Birthday last week ('Possession' by A.S. Byatt and 'The Watcher in the Shadows' by Carlos Ruiz Zafón) and I actually can't wait so I'm going to read The Watcher in the Shadows quickly before moving on to my next challenge book  :giggle2:

 

I'm not sure which challenge book to go for next, I was thinking maybe Look to Windward but I'm not sure. Any suggestions for the sci-fi/fantasy category?

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