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    • Hayley

      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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61) Magyk by Angie Sage, 62) Flyte by Angie Sage, 63) Physik by Angie Sage, 64) Queste by Angie Sage, 65) Syren by Angie Sage, 66) Darke by Angie Sage, & 67) Fyre by Angie Sage

 

I have adored the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage since I read the first book about nine or ten years ago. I return to the series fairly regularly, this time around was when I felt my reading mojo slipping a little. It son perked up and I sailed through them, surprising myself with a few little nuances and nuggets I hadn't caught or fully recognised the significance of on previous readings. 

 

The hardback book, all chunky and eminently hold-able with a fab designed cover was sitting forlornly on the shelf in a Tesco store in Oban, Scotland. I had said to husband "I will have a quick look and see if I can pick something up to add to my holiday reads."  :D  I was smitten from the first! 

 

(From Amazon) Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, disappears the night he is born, pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow -- a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take her into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

 

And so begins this delightful series. It all has an olde worlde homemade charm, with castles and magicians, no 'modern' technology and a definite social class system. There is such depth and breadth to the books, the included details give a sense of wholeness to them, as if the author is recording events rather than inventing them. 

 

These may be young adult books, but I would be surprised if I was the only grown up (*cough*) to be utterly delighted by them. 

 

 

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68) Harry Potter & The Cursed Child ; A play by Jack Thorn, based on a story by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorn.

 

My last read of 2016!

 

I enjoy reading plays, they generally have a different rhythm from books, so require a different approach, that for me becomes about visualising with little description.

 

(From Amazon) It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.


While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

 

 Despite a significant feature of the play that didn't ring true for me, I enjoyed the story. The focus being on Harry Potter - The Next Generation was a good direction to take, and I quickly developed a liking for Albus, and perhaps more surprising, Scorpius (dreadful name!). 

 

This is NOT Harry Potter part 8, and does feel a little indulgent of the writers who clearly wanted to take the familiar, age it and twist it a little. This wasn't a story that needed to be told, and had a deus ex machina aspect that grated. Not a terrible way to end my reading year. 

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I have enjoyed my reading this year enormously. I extended the fun of reading Rachel Caine, zipping through her Weather Warden series, and have discovered new-to-me authors who I am excited with and delighted by;

 

Ben Aaronovitch and his superb Rivers Of London books.

Rick Riordan and his Olympian series.

Jodi Taylor and the truly magnificent Chronicles Of St Mary's.

Daniel O'Malley's Checquy Files.

EE Holmes' supernatural trio. 

 

I am happy with what I have read this year, and after a few years of wobbly reading mojo, I no longer fear dry spells, but celebrate my re reads instead.  :smile:

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These may be young adult books, but I would be surprised if I was the only grown up (*cough*) to be utterly delighted by them. 

I own most of the series, just waiting to complete it so I can read the whole way through :). I thought they were children's books though? Sometimes I find it hard to tell to be honest. 

 

I am happy with what I have read this year, and after a few years of wobbly reading mojo, I no longer fear dry spells, but celebrate my re reads instead.  :smile:

I'm glad you had a good reading year :). I hope 2017 too will be a good reading year for you!

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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. 

 

 

I keep seeing these on audible, and am considering trying them.. I'm glad to know you enjoyed them. 

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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! 

I just have the last one to get to, but I've put it off a bit because I wasn't so keen on the second one. I might get back to it this year.

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I own most of the series, just waiting to complete it so I can read the whole way through :). I thought they were children's books though? Sometimes I find it hard to tell to be honest. 

I'm glad you had a good reading year :). I hope 2017 too will be a good reading year for you!

 

I would say the youngest readers to really appreciate them would be 9/10 years old. 

Have a good 2017, for reading and all other things!  :smile:

 

I keep seeing these on audible, and am considering trying them.. I'm glad to know you enjoyed them. 

 

It is one of those situations whereby if you like Max, the central character, then you will probably like the books. They won't be to everyone's taste (what books ever are?), with hints of weirdness, the identities of some peripheral characters riding alongside the time travel and history hopping, mean belief must be suspended regularly. But, it's a fun romp!  :smile:

 

I just have the last one to get to, but I've put it off a bit because I wasn't so keen on the second one. I might get back to it this year.

 

The third book takes them all in odd directions, but so long as the next book (there surely must be one sometime!) ties it all up solidly I will be happy. I find Maureen Johnson readable, and I like the main characters, so have an affection for the books.

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I would say the youngest readers to really appreciate them would be 9/10 years old. 

Have a good 2017, for reading and all other things!  :smile:

That makes sense. I consider anything below ages 12+ a children's book, even though it should probably be divided into names like picture books, children's books, middle grade and things like that (1 - 4, 4 - 8, 8 - 12?). YA is ages 12 - 18 for me.

 

I wish you a great 2017 as well :)!

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Yes, I think saying YA was probably a mistake, although I would amend the 9 / 10 year old reader label to say I am talking about a book worm, one who reads independently of what is asked of them!   :readingtwo:

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Hi Chrissy....just popping in to wish you a Happy 2017 of reading... :readingtwo: 

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Hi Chrissy....just popping in to wish you a Happy 2017 of reading... :readingtwo: 

 

Thank you Diane. You too!  :smile:

 

Happy reading in 2017 Chrissy, hope it's a great one. :friends0:

 

Thanks Ben. Good to see you back on the boards!  :smile:

 

Happy Reading in 2017. :)

 

Ooh, another fan of EE Holmes and Jodi Taylor. :D

 

Thank you LP, and yes I am indeed a new fan of both!  :smile:

 

I hope you have a brilliant reading year in 2017, Chrissy! :smile2:  :friends3:

 

Thanks Frankie. You too.  :smile:

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Happy 2017 Chrissy! I'm also a big Jodi Taylor fan, although trying to space the books out rather than inhale all at once :D

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No reading of novels in recent weeks, but I have been dipping into a few reference books;

 

The Times History of The World In Maps 

The Illustrated A-Z of Classic Mythology

The Book Of English Magic

The Worshipful Company Of Gardeners of London (1890 - 1960)

 

My book reading mojo is super low, but these books have been filling the gap before I can climb into my next read.  :smile:

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I haven't read much of it, but it combines history, geography, and biography from the earliest records of Magic in England up until present day. There are panels throughout that highlights a person, a book or an event relevant to that chapter. A dip in book for sure, but it seems pretty thorough in it's approach and I am looking forward to working my way through it. :smile:  

Edited by Chrissy

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I meant to pop in and tell you, I read Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud last week, and I thought it was one you'd like too.  I haven't written my review yet :blush: but it's a YA ghost hunting story, and I thought you might enjoy it. :)

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I meant to pop in and tell you, I read Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud last week, and I thought it was one you'd like too.  I haven't written my review yet :blush: but it's a YA ghost hunting story, and I thought you might enjoy it. :)

 

I like the look of the series. Oh dear, I feel a book purchase coming on....... :D Thanks for the recommendation. 

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