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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…     
Chrissy

Chrissy's Reading

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Hi Chrissy

 Hope you are doing well and finding some interesting reading material .

 

I'm doing great Julie, thanks for asking.  :smile: I have been enjoying my reading this year, everything ticking over nicely.

 

How about you? Any stand out books?  :readingtwo:

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Oh, let's see .....

 

 I'll have to make a list in here of what I've read so far. Nothing that was absolutely amazing so far .  I did read Willie Nelson's memoir at the beginning of the year and really liked it, although I'm not a huge Willie Nelson fan .

 

I'll try to get a list put up today sometime .

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20) Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Life changes for probationary PC,  Peter Grant one night while guarding a murder scene when he takes a witness statement from a ghost. From there he sits at the centre of this macabre and brutal murder enquiry. 

21) Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Jazz musicians, ageless beauties, chimeras and the faceless man. The plot thickens significantly in this second book. 

22) Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch

An art student is found murdered at Baker Street underground station. Strange markets, secret ancient communities, the FBI, and the power of art.  

23) Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Architecture, demon traps, european magics and the faceless man and his diabolically murderous schemes. Fascinating, with a plot tha manages to magically dash about whilst remaining thoroughly dense with plot, people and detail. 

24) Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Peter Grant spends most of the book in the countryside, assisting in a search for two missing girls. Rural folklore, the Romans, adultery and unicorns. What more could you ask for in a book?

 

I had bought each book in the series as they came up on special offer for the kindle, but hadn't actually read any of them. I had a feeling I would enjoy them, but had no idea by just how much.

 

Witty and imaginative, each book has it's own tale to tell, while an arc stretches across the series. Mr Aaronovitch beautifully melds together present day and modern policing methods with history, legend, mythology and folklore in such an imaginative way that poses (and I quote here) 'a juxtaposition between the magical and the mundane'  (Wikipedia ~ Rivers Of London). 

 

They have gone straight to the 'Absolute Favourites' list of books. LOVE THEM!  :D

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25) Conjuror by John & Carole Barrowman 

 

(from Amazon) Seventeen-year-old Rémy is no ordinary teenager. He is a Conjuror, descendant of an ancient bloodline that can change reality with music. He is also an orphan: his family have been murdered, and he's determined to find their killers.

 

Conjuror is the first book in a spin off/ cross over series from the Barrowman sibling's Hollow Earth YA series of books.  A visual story in so many ways, you can allow the descriptions to bathe you as you make your way through this well paced imaginative dance of special skills and gifts amongst the young protagonists.

 

I look forward to further books in the series.

 

26), 27) & 28) Spirit Legacy, Spirit Prophecy & Spirit Ascendancy by E E Holmes

 

"The Gateway is Open"

 

Spoken in a nightmare, these words are the start of a ghostly trio of books. We follow the recently bereaved Jess as she discovers her true heritage. At every turn Jess will face new and startling revelations, danger and (non-romantic) heartache. 

 

An enjoyable read, all three. Some great characters, good plot and lovely descriptions. I really enjoyed reading them. I cared about our main characters and wanted to see what was going to happen to them all. Secret and ancient organisations and collectives, extraordinary powers and talents, age old rivalries and the need of us all to understand our place in the world. I will be looking out for further books from E E Holmes as I like her style.  :smile:

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29) The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

 

It was with a truly heavy heart that I read this last book by Terry Pratchett. I have adored the Tiffany Aching series and was delighted that there was one final one to be read, but knowing this was his last was bittersweet. 

 

I will not give any of the plot away, although I can say that it ties up some loose ends, and is equal parts heartwarming and heart breaking. The book isn't as 'polished' as the previous books in the series, and I had a feeling that in some areas he had planned on expanding on a few parts, but was ultimately unable to do so. Tiffany is fully 'drawn' in the book though, and as always is inspiring. A few tears were spilled in the reading, a few laughs escaped too. 

 

I raise my pointy hat to Sir Terry and look forward to reading the Disc world novels I have not yet read. 

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30) The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner

Jim's meek wife Tess was instrumental in getting him put away for his serial killing ways. Jim has now escaped and is seeking to snatch his daughter and kill Tess. While their little girl is allegedly safe, Tess seeks help in getting herself good and ready to face her super smart and deadly ex. 

A taut and tension filled novel with fully defined characters and heart stopping action.

 

This is the first book from Lisa Gardner with the character of FBI agent Pierce Quincy. I read this many years ago, and felt an urge to re visit the taut and compelling series.

 

31) The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner

A school shooting, a muddled crime scene and a past that won't stay where it should. A difficult and painful read at times, with twists and tumbles throughout. Human nature at it's absolute worst, and (fortunately) best on display throughout. 

 

32) The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner

FBI agent Pierce Quincy lost his daughter to a drink drive crash, but something doesn't quite fit. His ex wife has started dating, but is her new man quite who he appears to be? Something ingenious and hateful is going on in this book full of intrigue, mistrust, mind games and epic revenge scenarios. 

 

33) The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner

Clock ticking....planet dying....animals weeping....rivers screaming. Can't you hear it? Heat kills

Summer heatwave in Atlanta and pairs of girls go missing, bodies start being found. Summer heatwave in Virginia, a girl's body is discovered in an unlikely place. Agent in training Kimberley Quincy finds herself thrown headlong into a mess of an investigation. So many experts required, no time to spare, and allegiances made and broken in an instant. Great stuff. 

 

34) Gone by Lisa Gardner

Rainie and Pierce have been having problem, dark problems. One night heavy with rain and menace, Rainie goes missing. But how could Rainie, capable, armed Rainie just be taken like that? The authorities must figure out the how and why before they can work out the who. Pierce, Kim and Mac come together to work all the angles of the case. 

 

A thrilling ride from the opening pages. Lisa Gardner has a special skill at capturing all the human foibles and frailties on the page, all those delicious idiosyncrasies that make people who and what they are, good and bad. 

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35) Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner

 

Now pregnant, FBI Special Agent Kimberley Quincy takes on the most dangerous case of her career, involving half a dozen missing prostitutes, two kidnapped children, one lying informant, and a villain who is obsessed with spiders. (from lisagardner.com)

 

Harrowing, creepy and compelling, each book in this series has been so well written, but on the *shudder* factor alone I think Say Goodbye takes the gold. Unsettling and upsetting in the extreme at times this is perfectly pitched, ebbing a flowing between scenes so the reader gets a dab here and there before realising what the has happened, is happening, and what must happen. 

 

A book to make you want to hug your loved ones a little tighter.

Edited by Chrissy

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36) Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

37) Percy Jackson & The Sea Of Monsters by Rick Riordan

 

I bought the whole series on Kindle when they came up on special offer, and thought the first one might make a nice break from the angst and horror encounter by Pierce Quincy et al in my previous books. Although I expected to enjoy the Percy Jackson series, I had not quite expected to enjoy them as much as I did. 

 

I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive. (amazon uk)

Fast paced, witty and imaginative, Rick Riordan has created such a good hero in these books. He isn't perfect by any measure, but he is philosophical, loyal and self aware. Some great characters surround him, well drawn and just enough to make the series interesting but not overwhelming. I am on the third in the series as I type this, and look forward to reading all five before moving on.  :smile:

 

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I should still start on this series. I've been meaning to do so for quite some time, but somehow I haven't started it yet. I'm glad to hear you're liking the books so much :).

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26), 27) & 28) Spirit Legacy, Spirit Prophecy & Spirit Ascendancy by E E Holmes

 

"The Gateway is Open"

 

Spoken in a nightmare, these words are the start of a ghostly trio of books. We follow the recently bereaved Jess as she discovers her true heritage. At every turn Jess will face new and startling revelations, danger and (non-romantic) heartache. 

 

An enjoyable read, all three. Some great characters, good plot and lovely descriptions. I really enjoyed reading them. I cared about our main characters and wanted to see what was going to happen to them all. Secret and ancient organisations and collectives, extraordinary powers and talents, age old rivalries and the need of us all to understand our place in the world. I will be looking out for further books from E E Holmes as I like her style.  :smile:

 

Those are brilliant !  I`d recommend Milo`s Story, too. :)

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Those are brilliant !  I`d recommend Milo`s Story, too. :)

 

I have read it! Really good short story that I thought added depth to the series.  :smile:

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I should still start on this series. I've been meaning to do so for quite some time, but somehow I haven't started it yet. I'm glad to hear you're liking the books so much :).

 

They are a great series to dive into. The characters are fun and develop well over the course of the books (The Percy Jackson and the Heroes series). I think they are a great way to read about the Greek and Roman myths and legends. I was regularly digging out my myths and legends books to remind myself of the stories for each of the characters that the young demi gods encounter. Rick Riordan has done a great job in bringing the many tales back to life with the series. 

 

38) Percy Jackson & The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

39) Percy Jackson & The Battle Of The Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

40) Percy Jackson & The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

 

Heroes Of Olympus

 

41) The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

42) The Son Of Neptune by Rick Riordan

43) The Mark Of Athena by Rick Riordan

44)The House Of Hades by Rick Riordan

45)The Blood Of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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The Chronicles Of St. Mary's by Jodi Taylor

 

I can honestly say that I love these books. The perfect balance of wit and humour, action, drama, sadness and intrigue. Great leaps through history, a marvellous cast of central and peripheral characters, and just the right dose of baddies.

Having immersed myself in the series, including the short novellas/stories I felt happily sated by the end and am very much looking forward to the Christmas novella (all author proceeds going to Help For Heroes) and next year’s eighth book. 

 

The Very First Damned Thing

Where it all began. This novella offers a glimpse into the openings weeks, months and years of the establishment of St. Mary’s. A lovely short to enhance your reading of the Chronicles, although best read after reading the first couple of books – it makes more sense and you have a stronger bond with the characters by then.

 

46) Just One Damned Thing after Another

We are introduced to St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research through Max, a young historian who has been encouraged to apply for a job with this motley crew of historians, technicians etc.

Behind the strait laced façade of a conventional academic institution, the secret of time travel is being used for ground breaking and daring historical research taking the historians on a roller

 

47) A Symphony of Echoes

Having established the central premise of the series in the first book, this second one carries on the Chronicles with great heart.

 

When a Child is Born

We can never truly know the significance of our actions or interactions, but history has a way of making sure those that delve about in it’s waters for a living keep things on track. A terrific short story just for Christmas.

 

48) A Second Chance

The third instalment takes the St. Mary’s team off on a huge operation, one that will have repercussions for everyone involved. It all changes here.

 

Roman Holiday

They only meant to dress the part and then go look. They certainly didn’t plan on getting involved……….

 

49) A Trail Through Time

Things have been turned on their head, yet it’s all so familiar. Chasing up and down the timeline, A Trail Through Time really is the book that does that. Time Police, love lost and found, are things ever going to become what they should?

 

Christmas Present

Their names are recalled with sadness at St. Mary’s, will this short story of a ‘mission impossible’ make things better or worse?

 

50) No Time Like The Past

Why has Mr Markham started to see ghosts? Why has no one returned or contacted, and why did you have to spend a penny then? All these questions are asked and answered in this fifth book of the St Mary’s Chronicles.

 

51) What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

New blood at St Mary’s as new recruits are trained and treated by Max and Peterson. Machinations and manipulations are never far from the Institute, and they come in many forms.

 

Ships and Stings & Wedding Rings

Christmas as come around again. To stop a mistake developing into an historical catastrophe an illegal jump takes place, with the accompanying chaos that is generally abound this time of year.

 

52) Lies, Damned Lies & History

“……it only takes the smallest step to find you have stepped over the line altogether. That you have done the wrong thing for the right reasons.” A line that came near the close of What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In Lies, Damned Lies and History that step is taken and it all falls apart. Can things ever be restored? Can amends be made, or trust regained?

 

The Great St. Mary’s Day Out

A holiday has been declared by Doctor Bairstow – a working holiday for those that volunteer. Three sensible groupings lead to a street brawl, a misunderstanding with some sailors, an unconscious playwright and the disappearance of a large bar of chocolate.

 

 

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I've only read the first two and they're fabulous, with just the right mix of happy and sad - the hilarity of a dodo hunt in the 2nd book, contrasted with the demise of one of the characters which was very touching.

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I've only read the first two and they're fabulous, with just the right mix of happy and sad - the hilarity of a dodo hunt in the 2nd book, contrasted with the demise of one of the characters which was very touching.

 

 

I had bought the first three books as a cheap 'bundle' some time ago, and finally got around to reading them. I then went and bought the rest!  :D

 

The mix is spot on, just enough of everything to keep it all balanced, and all deftly handled.  :yes: I love immersing myself in a good series of books, and I have been lucky this year to stumble into some well written series that have hit my reading spot right on target. 

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The Boy In The Smoke by Maureen Johnson

This is the prequel story to the series 'Shades Of London'. A moving story that recounts the teens years of Stephen Dene. I'm not sure if its because I'm a parent, but I felt so tense reading this, and wanted to reach into the book and hold Stephen and Gina close and tell them that all would be well. Achey heart short read indeed.

 

55) The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson

A killer is mimicking the murders of Victorian London's Jack The Ripper. American student, arriving to attend boarding school in the London gets caught up in the investigation. Life will never be the same for Rory in this supernatural story. 

This is my second reading of the Shades series, and I felt I got more of the nuances of the book this time around. Creepy, without being too scary, the author manages to convey the atmosphere surrounding Rory well, without resorting to tired and lazy descriptions. The characters are developed well across the books, although there is always that feeling that we have more to discover in each case.

 

56) The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Rory is with her parents in Bristol, but fate steps in to help her return to London, where a series of murders appear to have a tenuous link. Rory is encouraged to meet with an unconventional therapist, but her involvement leads to a tragedy by the close of the book. 

The book was somewhat less satisfying than the first, but I think was written more as a scene setter for the rest of the series. Some clever and original ideas are threaded into the story, enough to intrigue the reader.

 

57) The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

A book that examines the meaning of loyalty, what death really means, what we would do to protect or save the one's we love. New characters are explored, and new supernatural encounters occur. A fast paced and original premise. 

I hope that this is not the last book, as it feels that there are more stories to be told by Rory and the others. I enjoy the series, the are quick to read while retaining a textual meatiness! 

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Hey, Chrissy!  :006: 

 

I take it you are a Maureen Johnson fan :D  Your reviews make me want to check her out.  Is there some you'd recommend for a new reader of hers or a certain order that they're to be read?

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Hey M.  :006:

If your are in the mood for supernatural YA shenanigans based in the UK (I've just made it sound like Scooby Doo haven't I? :giggle2: ), then I would read them;

The Name Of The Star

The Boy In The Smoke (Short Story) < It would be better to have a feel for the characters before you read this back story. 

The Madness Underneath

The Shadow Cabinet

 

I liked that the story and characters developed across the books, so it wasn't the same book story told in 3 different ways - been there. I hope that you enjoy them if you give them a try.

 

Just so you know, I bought Arcadia based on your review - am looking forward to reading it in the next few months.  :smile:

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58) Summer Shadows by Joss Stirling

 

 

 Summer lives under a terrible shadow. It drains her, manipulates her and threatens to steal her future. A high-stakes mission offers a temporary escape. She must use her mind-shadowing abilities to hunt down her target and find the truth. (Amazon UK) 

 

I love the Savant stories by Joss Stirling. They share a central premise that is played out in each book, but somehow I don't tire of them. Each protagonist has their special talent, their friends and family and usually a certain fiestiness that has evolved through negative life experiences. Great stuff! 

 

 

59) The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

 

'The body you are wearing used to be mine.' So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity.(Amazon UK)

 

The two books of the Checquy Files; The Rook and Stiletto were bought on the recommendation of BCF's Raven and while they were on special kindle offer. I was not certain of what to expect with The Rook, and had approached it with an open mind. Have to say I loved it! It is a compelling story that deftly unfolds for the reader through Myfanwy's experiences, and the letters and files left for her to read. It is active and witty and you cannot help but like the character of Myfanwy, and her marvellous PA, the discreet and sardonic Ingrid. Have decided to move straight on to the second book from The Checquy Files straightaway. 

Edited by Chrissy

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You enjoyed The Rook a lot more than I did. I ended up giving up on it. I didn't like the lengthy notes left for Myfanway; I know they were there for a reason, but they just went on too long and took me out of the story.

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Isn't it funny how aspects of a book can appeal to one reader, but repel another?  :smile:  I really enjoyed the notes, and loved how they contributed to the unfolding nature of the story - although I must admit that had I been Myfanwy I would have locked myself in a room until I read the lot of them!  :giggle2:

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Hey M.  :006:

If your are in the mood for supernatural YA shenanigans based in the UK (I've just made it sound like Scooby Doo haven't I? :giggle2: ), then I would read them;

The Name Of The Star

The Boy In The Smoke (Short Story) < It would be better to have a feel for the characters before you read this back story. 

The Madness Underneath

The Shadow Cabinet

 

I liked that the story and characters developed across the books, so it wasn't the same book story told in 3 different ways - been there. I hope that you enjoy them if you give them a try.

 

Just so you know, I bought Arcadia based on your review - am looking forward to reading it in the next few months.  :smile:

 

Yayyy!!!  Arcadia!  Only one of my fave books ;).  Can't wait to hear what you think of it when you get to read it!

 

Thank you for those titles.  I like anything really, including YA, supernatural and ones set in the UK :D

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I'd definitely recommend the Maureen Johnson series too!  I've only read the first book and the prequel short story, but I thought they were great.  I was actually a bit scared by the story of the first book, especially as my Kindle broke just as I got to a quite chilling part of the story and I was on holiday away from home, staying in a remote cottage, and felt a bit creeped out overnight! :lol:  I keep meaning to read the next book in the series - I'm sure I'll get to it at some point.

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I'd definitely recommend the Maureen Johnson series too!  I've only read the first book and the prequel short story, but I thought they were great.  I was actually a bit scared by the story of the first book, especially as my Kindle broke just as I got to a quite chilling part of the story and I was on holiday away from home, staying in a remote cottage, and felt a bit creeped out overnight! :lol:  I keep meaning to read the next book in the series - I'm sure I'll get to it at some point.

 

 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^See Peace? They've got a double recommendation now (at least the first one does)!  :D ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

 

60) Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley

 

THE CHECQUY: A centuries-old covert organization that protects the nation from supernatural threat.

 

THE GRAFTERS: A centuries-old supernatural threat.

This is the second book from the Checquy Files. It is a very different read from the first book, and is relayed in a completely different way. There is no epistolary theme here, and although Myfanwy Thomas is still with us the story focuses on two others, a Checquy Pawn and a Grafter. Action a'plenty, all wrapped up in revelations, age old enmities, and the tenuous nature of trust. 

I hope this isn't the last Checquy book, as I have enjoyed these two enormously. Daniel O'Malley has created a universe that is fantastical , and has mastered the art of making his characters and their motivations so very human, and thus oddly familiar. 

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