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Claire's Book List 2016

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2015 reading blog - 171 books

2014 reading blog - 151 books

2013 reading blog - 183 books

2012 reading blog - 145 books

2011 reading blog - 141 books

2010 reading blog - 130 books

2009 reading blog - 143 books

2008 reading list - 63 books

2007 reading list - 97 books

2006 reading list - 82 books

 

2016 BOOKS READ

January

1. The Sound of Whales by Kerr Thomson

2. The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

3. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

4. Demolition Dad by Phil Earle

5. Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

6. Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

7. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson

8. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

February

9. Just William by Richmal Crompton

10. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (narrated by Stephen Fry)

12. Beetle Boy by M. G. Leonard

13. Italian Ways by Tim Parks

14. The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett

15. South Riding by Winifred Holtby (narrated by Carole Boyd)

16. More William by Richmal Crompton

17. Summer Lightning by P. G. Wodehouse (narrated by John Wells)

18. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (narrated by Zara Ramm)

19. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey

20. Pip and the Paw of Friendship by Gill Lewis

March

21. The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine

22. The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan

​23. Mobile Library by David Whitehouse

24. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

25. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (narrated by Juliet Stevenson)

26. The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham

27. Film Freak by Christopher Fowler

28. The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor (Short story narrated by Jodi Taylor)

29. Rain: Four Walks in English Weather by Melissa Harrison

30. When A Child Is Born by Jodi Taylor (Short story narrated by Zara Ramm)

31. Once Upon A Time In The West… Country by Tony Hawks

32. Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery

33. The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicholas Barreau

34. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

35. Roman Holiday by Jodi Taylor (Short story narrated by Zara Ramm)

36. The Lady In The Van by Alan Bennett

37. See How They Run by Ally Carter

38. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

April

39. Christmas Present by Jodi Taylor (Short story narrated by Zara Ramm)

40. Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings by Jodi Taylor (Short story narrated by Zara Ramm)

41. A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor (Narrated by Zara Ramm)

42. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

43. A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor (Narrated by Zara Ramm)

44. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

45. Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens

46. The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

47. Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

48. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

49. Spectacles by Sue Perkins

50. Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

51. A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor (Narrated by Zara Ramm)

52. As You Wish by Cary Elwes

May

53. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

54. No Time Like The Past by Jodi Taylor (Narrated by Zara Ramm)

55. Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor

56. Common Ground by Rob Cowen

57. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

58. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

59. The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks

60. Public Library and other stories by Ali Smith

61. The Savage Marquess by M. C. Beaton

62. Me and My Ghoulfriends by Rose Pressey

June

63. Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes

64. The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

65. Forever Charmed by Rose Pressey

66. Crime Wave by Rose Pressey

67. The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

68. Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood

69. Regency Gold by M. C. Beaton

70. A Very Special Year by Thomas Montasser

71. England, England by Julian Barnes

72. The Movie Doctors by Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode

73. Persuasion by Jane Austen (narrated by Juliet Stevenson)

74. Coastlines by Patrick Barkham

75. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (narrated by Thomas Judd)

76. The Fish Ladder by Katherine Norbury

July

77. Raptor by James MacDonald Lockhart

78. Strange Star by Emma Carroll

79. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (narrated by Patricia Routledge)

80. The Beach Café by Lucy Diamond (narrated by Jane Collingwood)

81. Silken Bonds by M. C. Beaton

82. The Love Match by M. C. Beaton

83. Being A Beast by Charles Foster

84. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

85. The Paper Princess by M. C. Beaton

August

86. The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy

87. The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling

88. The Dreadful Debutante by M. C. Beaton

89. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling

90. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (narrated by Stephen Fry)

91. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

92. Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor (narrated by Zara Ramm)

93. The Grand St Mary's Day Out by Jodi Taylor

94. To Dream of Love by M. C. Beaton

95. Daisy by M. C. Beaton

96. Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

September

97. Dracula by Bram Stoker

98. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend

99. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

100. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

101. A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines

102. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

103. Lydia by Natasha Farrant

104. The Immortals by S. E. Lister

105. Imprudence by Gail Carriger

October

106. The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

November

107. Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

108. Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy

December

109. Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

110. Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

111. Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

112. Cakes In Space by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

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AUTHOR READING LISTS

 

The books I own for these authors are in storage, so I may not be able to continue these challenges this year but keeping the posts for reference in future.

 

J. L. CARR

 

Key:

Books I own in Italics

Books I have read in Bold

 

BOOK LIST:

 

1. A Day In Summer

2. A Season in Sinji

3. The Harpole Report

4. How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won The F. A. Cup

5. A Month In The Country

6. The Battle of Pollocks Crossing

7. What Hetty Did

8. Harpole and Foxberrow, General Publishers

 

Status: 5/8 books read = 62.5% complete

 

E. H. YOUNG

 

Key:

Books I own in Italics

Books I have read in Bold

 

BOOK LIST:

 

1. A Corn of Wheat

2. Yonder

3. Moor Fires

4. The Bridge Dividing (aka The Misses Mallett)

5. William

6. The Vicar's Daughter

7. Miss Mole

8. Jenny Wren

9. The Curate's Wife

10. Celia

11. Caravan Island

12. River Holiday

13. Chatterton Square

 

Status: 2/13 books read = 15% complete

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THE ENGLISH COUNTIES

 

For more details, visit the English Counties Challenge board: http://www.bookclubforum.co.uk/community/index.php?/forum/74-english-counties-challenge/

 

Key:

Books I own in Italics

Books I have read in Bold

 

BOOK LIST:

 

BEDFORDSHIRE: My Uncle Silas by H. E. Bates

BERKSHIRE: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

BRISTOL: The Misses Mallett by E. H. Young

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

CAMBRIDGESHIRE: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers

CHESHIRE: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

CITY OF LONDON: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

CORNWALL: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

CUMBRIA: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

DERBYSHIRE: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

DEVON: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

DORSET: Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

COUNTY DURHAM: Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE: South Riding by Winifred Holtby

EAST SUSSEX: Winnie-The-Pooh by A. A. Milne

ESSEX: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James

GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

GREATER LONDON*: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

GREATER MANCHESTER: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

HAMPSHIRE: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

HEREFORDSHIRE: On The Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin

HERTFORDSHIRE: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

ISLE OF WIGHT: England, England by Julian Barnes

KENT: The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates

LANCASHIRE: Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

LEICESTERSHIRE: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend

LINCOLNSHIRE: The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

MERSEYSIDE: An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge

NORFOLK: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley

NORTH YORKSHIRE: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot/Dracula by Bram Stoker

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

NORTHUMBERLAND: The Stars Look Down by A. J. Cronin

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

OXFORDSHIRE: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

RUTLAND: Set In Stone by Robert Goddard

SHROPSHIRE: Summer Lightning by P. G. Wodehouse

SOMERSET: Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore

SOUTH YORKSHIRE: A Kestral For A Knave by Barry Hines

STAFFORDSHIRE: The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett

SUFFOLK: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

SURREY: Emma by Jane Austen

TYNE AND WEAR: Another World by Pat Barker

WARWICKSHIRE: Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes

WEST MIDLANDS: Middlemarch by George Eliot

WEST SUSSEX: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

WEST YORKSHIRE: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

WILTSHIRE: Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

WORCESTERSHIRE: The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

 

Status: 35/48 books read = 73% complete

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READING LISTS

 

PERSEPHONE BOOKS

 

Key:

Books I own in Italics

Books I have read in Bold

 

BOOK LIST:

1. William - an Englishman by Cicely Hamilton

2. Mariana by Monica Dickens

3. Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple

4. Fidelity by Susan Glaspell

5. An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-43 by Etty Hillesum

6. The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski

7. The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

8. Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes

9. Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson

10. Good Things in England by Florence White

11. Julian Grenfell by Nicholas Mosley

12. It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty by Judith Viorst

13. Consequences by E. M. Delafield

14. Farewell Leicester Square by Betty Miller

15. Tell It to a Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge

16. Saplings by Noel Streatfeild

17. Marjory Fleming by Oriel Malet

18. Every Eye by Isobel English

19. They Knew Mr Knight by Dorothy Whipple

20. A Woman's Place: 1910-75 by Ruth Adam

21. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

22. Consider the Years by Virginia Graham

23. Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy

24. Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton

25. The Montana Stories by Katherine Mansfield

26. Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell

27. The Children who lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham

28. Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski

29. The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

30. Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll

31. A House in the Country by Jocelyn Playfair

32. The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme

33. The Far Cry by Emma Smith

34. Minnie's Room: The Peacetime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes

35. Greenery Street by Denis Mackail

36. Lettice Delmer by Susan Miles

37. The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart

38. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey

39. Manja by Anna Gmeyner

40. The Priory by Dorothy Whipple

41. Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge

42. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

43. The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf

44. Tea with Mr Rochester by Frances Towers

45. Good Food On The Aga by Ambrose Heath

46. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd

47. The New House by Lettice Cooper

48. The Casino by Margaret Bonham

49. Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton

50. The World that was Ours by Hilda Bernstein

51. Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper

52. The Village by Marghanita Laski

53. Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruferguson

54. They Can't Ration These by Vicomte De Mauduit

55. Flush by Virginia Woolf

56. They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple

57. The Hopkins Manuscript by Rc Sherriff

58. Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson

59. There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult

60. Doreen by Barbara Noble

61. A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes

62. How To Run Your Home Without Help by Kay Smallshaw

63. Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan

64. A Woman Novelist and Other Stories by Diana Gardner

65. Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson

66. Gardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart

67. The Fortnight in September by Rc Sherriff

68. The Expendable Man by Dorothy B Hughes

69. Journal by Katherine Mansfield

70. Plats du Jour by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd

71. The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

72. House-Bound by Winifred Peck

73. The Young Pretenders by Edith Henrietta

74. The Closed Door and Other Stories by Dorothy Whipple

75. On the Other Side: Letters to my Children from Germany 1940-46 by Mathilde Wolff-Mönckeberg

76. The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby

77. Daddy's Gone A-Hunting by Penelope Mortimer

78. A Very Great Profession by Nicola Beauman

79. Round about a Pound a Week by Maud Pember Reeves

80. The Country Housewife's Book by Lucy H Yates

81. Miss Buncle's Book by De Stevenson

82. Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough

83. Making Conversation by Christine Longford

84. A New System of Domestic Cookery by Mrs Rundell

85. High Wages by Dorothy Whipple

86. To Bed with Grand Music by Marghanita Laski

87. Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène Némirovsky

88. Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon

89. The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow by Mrs Oliphant

90. The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens

91. Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson

92. Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill

93. The Sack of Bath by Adam Fergusson

94. No Surrender by Constance Maud

95. Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple

96. Dinners for Beginners by Rachel and Margaret Ryan

97. Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins

98. A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf

99. Patience by John Coates

100. The Persephone Book of Short Stories by Various

101. Heat Lightning by Helen Hull

102. The Exiles Return by Elisabeth De Waal

103. The Squire by Enid Bagnold

104. The Two Mrs Abbotts by De Stevenson

105. Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield

106. Into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

107. Wilfred and Eileen by Jonathan Smith

108. The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray

109. The Country Life Cookery Book by Ambrose Heath

110. Because of the Lockwoods by Dorothy Whipple

111. London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes

112. Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey

113. Greengates by R. C. Sheriff

114. Gardener's Choice by Evelyn Dunbar and Charles Mahoney

115. Maman, What Are We Called Now? by Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar

116. A Lady and Her Husband by Amber Reeves

117. The Godwits Fly by Robin Hyde

 

Status: 13/117 books read = 11% complete

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This year, I'd like to achieve a better balance between male and female authors, and also a better split between fiction and non-fiction, as last year I read almost all fiction and very few male authors.

 

I'd also like to make more of an effort on my various challenges, although a lot of my books are in storage at the moment, so not sure when I'll be able to actually get my hands on some of the books so that might be a bit tricky. :lol:

 

Other than that, I don't have a huge TBR, so I'm really just looking to enjoy my reading this year and try and keep up with my reviews a lot better than I've managed this year! :D

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Hi Claire, wasn't sure if you were open for replies yet. Good luck with your reading. I think it's interesting how your reading totals have increased over the years, although 2013 was amazing.

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Thanks James :) 
 
Yes, I'm open for business now. :D  Although I keep a record of the number of books I read, I'm not really bothered by the numbers - I'd be much happier reading fewer books that blew me away than read masses of books that were just passing the time ... it's just finding those crackers that's the tricky bit! :lol:

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The Sound of Whales by Kerr Thomson

 

Synopsis:

Three children are spending their summer on a wild Scottish island. Fraser is desperate for adventure; Hayley is fed up she's even there; while Dunny spends his days staring out to sea. He hasn't said a word in years. But everything changes with the discovery of two bodies on the beach: a whale and a man. Fraser and Hayley see a mystery-adventure to be solved, but Dunny is inconsolable. And in the end, it will take someone who listens to the sea to put it right.

 

Review:

This was a really engrossing story.  The narrative alternates between Fraser and Hayley so we see the story from two points of view, the local boy desperate for adventure, and the all American girl stuck on a small island.  The fractious relationships between the two of them and also Fraser and his mute brother Dunny add to the atmosphere, and it was a pleasant surprise that there was no saccharine romance between the teenagers.

 

I loved all the descriptions of the boat trips on the sea with the stormy weather, the whale viewings and the general setting of the island, which added that extra roundness to the world of the island.

 

I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it might give too much away, but it’s a whodunnit with a few twists and turns along the way, and although you have to suspend your disbelief, there’s a very satisfying ending.

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The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

 

Synopsis:

In 1896, in a pilgrim church in the Alps, an abandoned baby girl is found by a cook and a housemaid. They take her home, and Annika grows up in the servants' quarters of a house belonging to three eccentric Viennese professors. She is happy there, but dreams of the day when her real mother will come to find her. And sure enough, one day a glamorous stranger arrives at the door. After years of guilt and searching, Annika's mother has come to claim her daughter, who is in fact a Prussian aristocrat whose true home is a great castle. But at crumbling, spooky Spittal Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her new-found family ...

 

Review:

Probably not a book I’d have picked up myself, but always happy to get books for Christmas. This was a very traditional style of story that I might have expected to read when I was about 12. It reads very much like a fairy tale for slightly older children, and has a romantic sentiment (not in the sense of being a love story, but having a rose-tinted viewpoint), with a strong heroine at its heart who defeats the villains of the piece with the help of her friends and loved ones. An easy to read, heartwarming story, but a little old fashioned nevertheless.

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A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

 

Synopsis:

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.

 

It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.

 

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and a boy called Nikolas, who isn't afraid to believe in magic.

 

Review:

Thank you Kay for giving me this book! An absolutely charming story, a perfect Christmas book to read to children in the lead up to the big day, and beautifully illustrated. I loved Nikolas and the story of how Father Christmas came about, and I have to say, I love that he’s called “Father Christmas” which I feel is more traditional for me, as “Santa Claus” feels more American … I can’t remember ever hearing people talk about Santa Claus before I knew of it from American films. Nothing wrong with that as every country has their own name for him, but I do feel more nostalgia for Father Christmas as a name.

 

At times it’s really sad, but it’s the sadness that leads to the joy, so it’s wonderfully uplifting and left a big old smile on my face! Will definitely be reading this one again at Christmas in the future. :smile2:

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Hi Claire

 

Your reading totals never fail to amaze me :D

 

Hope you have a great 2016 in terms of quantity and quality - you've already had a decent start!

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Happy reading in 2016, Claire. :) 

 

Great review of A Boy Called Christmas! I totally agree with all of it. :)

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Thanks both.  I'm sure I'm going to have a very happy time reading during the year! :D

 

Kylie, we definitely all got a cracker of a present from Kay this year, didn't we? :lol:  Smashing Christmas read. :yes:

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Happy Reading in 2016 Claire!! :hug: You are doing fab already :)  
 
HaHa .. I did buy quite a few copies of A Boy Called Christmas and got Alan to buy it for me too :blush2: .. I think Matt Haig owes me a favour now (perhaps he will buy my toast book .. when it comes out .. in the year 2525!! :D I love your review .. my thoughts on it exactly .. it was a perfect little story to read in the holidays and I loved the illustrations :wub: Actually just looking at the cover made me happy :) 

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I hope you have a fantastic reading year in 1016, chesilbeach! :smile2: I wish you good luck with your reading challenges, may there prove to be many gems there to be read and loved :) A great review of A Boy Called Christmas, I very much agreed with what you said about the novel :smile2: Also happy to see poppyshake liked it too, herself :D I'd already seen Kylie and Jänet's ratings on the novel on Goodreads but didn't know poppyshake had also already read it. Wouldn't it be awful if we all had loved it but she would've thought it was 'meh'? :D

Edited by frankie

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Happy Reading in 2016 Claire!! :hug: You are doing fab already :)  

 

HaHa .. I did buy quite a few copies of A Boy Called Christmas and got Alan to buy it for me too :blush2: .. I think Matt Haig owes me a favour now (perhaps he will buy my toast book .. when it comes out .. in the year 2525!! :D I love your review .. my thoughts on it exactly .. it was a perfect little story to read in the holidays and I loved the illustrations :wub: Actually just looking at the cover made me happy :) 

 

 

Thanks Kay!  :friends3: 

 

Perhaps you can get Matt to do the blurb on the cover of your toast book ... you must have contributed a *significant* amount to his earnings this year. :yes:

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I hope you have a fantastic reading year in 1016, chesilbeach! :smile2: I wish you good luck with your reading challenges, may there prove to be many gems there to be read and loved :) A great review of A Boy Called Christmas, I very much agreed with what you said about the novel :smile2: Also happy to see poppyshake liked it too, herself :D I'd already seen Kylie and Jänet's ratings on the novel on Goodreads but didn't know poppyshake had also already read it. Wouldn't it be awful if we all had loved it but she would've thought it was 'meh'? :D

 

Thank you! :D

 

I'm sure I'll find a few gems in my reading this year ... just the law of averages ought to get me at least one, shouldn't it??? :lol:

 

Can you imaging if we'd all raved about A Boy Called Christmas and Alan *hadn't* bought it for Kay :o ... good job she's got a great husband, eh? ;)

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Demolition Dad by Phil Earle, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

 

Synopsis:

This is the story of Jake Biggs and his dad, George. George spends all week knocking down buildings ... and all weekend knocking down wrestlers. He's the Demolition Man, and Jake couldn't be prouder. But when Jake hears about a pro-wrestling competition in the USA, and persuades his beloved dad to apply, things don't quite turn out the way he expected...

 

Review:

This was one of my Christmas presents, and probably not one I’d have picked for myself, but it was great fun, and has lovely messages for children - be true to yourself and never give up on people.  Probably a little young for me, but a lovely little read never the same.

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Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

 

Synopsis:

Scotland Street witnesses the wedding of the century of Angus Lordie to Domenica Macdonald, but as the newlyweds depart on honeymoon Edinburgh is in disarray. Recovering from the trauma of being best man, Matthew is taken up by a Dane called Bo, while Cyril eludes his dog-sitter and embarks on an odyssey involving fox-holes and the official residence of a cardinal. Narcissist Bruce meets his match in the form of a sinister doppelganger; Bertie, set up by his mother for fresh embarrassment at school, yearns for freedom; and Big Lou goes viral. But the residents of Scotland Street rally, and order - and Cyril - is restored by the combined effects of understanding, kindness, and, most of all, friendship.

 

Review:

This is the eighth book in the 44 Scotland Street series.  I’ve enjoyed reading the series, particularly as they are written as 75 part instalments and serialised in a newspaper, similarly to how Dickens used to publish his books, but I am getting a bit tired of them now.  It’s sort of an everyday story of everyday folk, but for me, it’s getting a bit too samey, while at the same time, some of the storylines (one in particular) felt contrived and a bit ridiculous.  I think I may be over my fondness for this series now, and I suspect this will the the last outing for me.

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