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bobblybear

Bobblybear's Book List - 2016

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Both Joyland and Ove are on my TBR and after reading those reviews I'm much more excited by them :)

 

I loved Rosie and Elizabeth so high hopes there!

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Oooh your last statement has me torn on this - I wasn't gone on Rosie but quite liked Elizabeth! Glad you enjoyed it anyway :)

 

Funny - I was the other way round.  I've been recommended Ove by an author friend, and found it cheap for the Kindle, so looking forward to reading it too.

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Tell me more!

 

Well, I don't actually know anything about the Hard Case Crime Novels, so not sure how well Joyland fits in with the rest of them but it wouldn't have stood out as a crime novel for me. There was too much 'other stuff' in there other than the solving of the crime. :dunno: Either way, it was a good read. :D

 

Both Joyland and Ove are on my TBR and after reading those reviews I'm much more excited by them :)

 

I loved Rosie and Elizabeth so high hopes there!

 

Oooh, hope you enjoy them both. A Man Called Ove is a pretty easy and relaxing read. :smile:

 

 

Oooh your last statement has me torn on this - I wasn't gone on Rosie but quite liked Elizabeth! Glad you enjoyed it anyway :)

 

Interesting! I'd say I liked them both equally, but for different reasons. Mind you I haven't gone back and checked the ratings I gave them....I could have given them totally different scores. :blush2:

 

Funny - I was the other way round.  I've been recommended Ove by an author friend, and found it cheap for the Kindle, so looking forward to reading it too.

 

Yeah, it's still only £0.99, so even if you don't like it, it's no great loss.

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The Pact - Jodi Picoult

 

Two teenagers are rushed to hospital, one suffering a gunshot wound to the head and the other with minor head injuries. They are Chris and Emily, neighbours and best friends since childhood and more recently in a romantic relationship with each other. When Emily dies of the gunshot wound, immediately suspicion and blame is shifted to Chris, who protests his innocence. He claims that the two of them had a suicide pact that night but it went awry.

 

Questions start to be asked about why Chris has survived and whether it was a suicide pact or murder.

 

This is up to Jodi Picoult's usual standards. As with all of her books (the ones I have read anyway), there is an ambiguous situation that is told from multiple points of view, with the full story not being revealed until the end. The story shifts around in time, from when Emily and Chris are growing up together as children, to what actually happened with this supposed pact, and then the events that occurred afterwards.

 

It gripped me from page one – the opening chapter is very impactful. I thought the character of Emily especially was brilliantly written. She was so complex and troubled and you could really feel for what she was going through.

 

Highly recommended.

 

5/6

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Joyland - Stephen King

 

It's the early 70's and Devin Jones has just graduated from high school, and is on the verge of splitting up from his girlfriend – or rather, she is splitting up with him while he is in denial about the whole matter. Trying to sort his head out before starting college, he decides to take a summer job at the local carnival, Joyland. While there, he learns of an unsolved murder which happened in the Horror House several years earlier; the ghost of the young girl is said to haunt that particular ride.

 

Devin becomes interested in the case, and decides to stay on at the carnival – working full time – after the summer, mostly with the intention of seeing this girl's ghost, and possibly unravelling the mystery of her murder.

 

I loved this book. I thought it was a return to old style King, so I was very pleasantly surprised. The story is very simple and straightforward which added to it's appeal. Sometimes I can cope with complicated, most of the time not! The main character is a likeable person, and it's through his eyes that the story is told, so it does help that he's pleasant enough to follow along with. The murder-solving part of the story doesn't take over the storyline, and the book is more layered than that. Even though it's part of the Hard Case Crime Novels series, I wouldn't classify it as crime novel. Not sure what I would class it as, but I did enjoy it.

 

5/6

 

I have it on the stack, husband has already read and enjoyed it. :)

 

Hmmm, I'd classify someone like Lawrence Block as Hard Case Crime Novel material.  I agree, not King so much.

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I have it on the stack, husband has already read and enjoyed it. :)

 

I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. :smile:

 

 

Great review of The Pact :). I quite liked it too when I read it.

 

Thanks. :smile:  I must read more of her books, but I find them to be quite heavy (subject matter) and need a fairly lengthy gap between them. Luckily my library has loads of her books, so I know they are always there when I fancy reading another one.

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Great reviews, bobblybear! :smile2: 

 

Joyland - Stephen King

 

5/6

 

Glad you enjoyed it :D I remember us talking about it and getting the book at around the same time. Unfortunately I couldn't get into it: it wasn't the right time and I wasn't in the right mood. But now I'm more convinced I need to read this at some point :) 

 

 

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

 

 

5/6

 

Ove was great, wasn't he? :wub: 

 

Funny - I was the other way round.  I've been recommended Ove by an author friend, and found it cheap for the Kindle, so looking forward to reading it too.

 

I'm the same: I really loved Rosie but wasn't all that keen on Elizabeth. I'd heartily recommend Ove :smile2: 

 

The Pact - Jodi Picoult

 

 

This is up to Jodi Picoult's usual standards. As with all of her books (the ones I have read anyway), there is an ambiguous situation that is told from multiple points of view, with the full story not being revealed until the end. The story shifts around in time, from when Emily and Chris are growing up together as children, to what actually happened with this supposed pact, and then the events that occurred afterwards.

 

5/6

 

This is the only Picoult I've read so far, but I got the sense that she's a master of these ambiguous situations and different viewpoints. :) 

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Great reviews, bobblybear! :smile2:

Thanks Frankie. I'm still catching up on the backlog. :blush2:

 

Glad you enjoyed it :D I remember us talking about it and getting the book at around the same time. Unfortunately I couldn't get into it: it wasn't the right time and I wasn't in the right mood. But now I'm more convinced I need to read this at some point :)

It's a good solid read....I enjoyed it a lot but many Amazon reviews criticise it for being slow, and nothing happening in the story. I thought loads happened, it just all took it's time. Hope you enjoy it better when you pick it up again. :smile:

 

 

This is the only Picoult I've read so far, but I got the sense that she's a master of these ambiguous situations and different viewpoints. :)

I think I've read about 3 Picoult books (feels like more though), and they are all very similar in themes and the way she tells the story. I've enjoyed all of them so far...I must read more of them!

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I Am The Messenger - Markus Zusak

 

This was an odd book, and I had high hopes for it after The Book Thief but unfortunately it wasn't nearly as good. Well, the story is completely different so perhaps it's not fair to compare the two, but where The Book Thief was very emotional and moving, this one was rather bland.

 

Ed is an ordinary chap - early twenties I think, or maybe a bit younger -  not very satisfied with his life but plodding along nonetheless. One day he and his friends get involved in stopping a bank robbery. Following the publicity from all this, he receives a playing card in the mail with just an address on it. After pondering on it for a while, he goes to the address, scopes out the situation, and does what he thinks is right. This leads to more playing cards in the mail, all with different things that he must do.

 

For me, the biggest challenge was believing that someone like Ed – who completely lacks the motivation for anything – would bother making the effort to investigate the playing card, let along carrying out what it asked. It was very far fetched – as was the whole of the book, and I found hard to pin down what it was trying to achieve. It swayed between seriousness - like with Ed's complex relationship with his mother - and jokiness and I couldn't find much consistency about it. I think there was a message in there but it certainly passed me by. :dunno:

 

2/6 (one of these marks is because I liked the dog in it :P )

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The Book Thief was a really enjoyable book, it's a shame I Am The Messenger was such a let-down for you :(. Great review, though!

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The Girl With All The Gifts - M R Carey

 

Set sometime in the future, the world has changed and is now in a post apocalyptic setting. The military runs most things as they try to keep order, and one of their areas is a base containing young children (11 years old). We know these children are different from the get-go, but not sure why. One of the children, Melanie, is who the story revolves around. For most of her day, Melanie is kept in her own isolated cell (as are the other children). Every day, she and her fellow students are wheeled out with full restraints (a la Hannibal Lector) and put in a classroom to learn their lessons (like normal school). Things happen outside the base, chaos descends and it all goes from there.

 

There's a bit of a twist about these kids, but I missed out on this because the twist is all but spelled out on the dust jacket, so I knew the key element before I even started. In fact, I never realised it was supposed to be a twist until I read reviews and most of them mentioned it. I won't reveal it here of course, but just a forewarning....if you read the hardback avoid reading the inside dust jacket! :doh:

 

It's hard to know whether me knowing the twist ruined the book for me or if I would have enjoyed it more otherwise. :dunno: I suspect not, but can't be sure. It was an ok read, but still run of the mill and I didn't find it very exciting or unputdownable, like some post apocalyptic books are.

 

It was an easy enough read, and I liked the ending, but that's about it.

 

3/6

 

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That's too bad about The Girl... I really liked it, but the twist was ruined for me too. Loved the idea of the ending.

 

Great review of The Pact, it has been one of my favorite books this year (but I wasn't surprised as Plain Truth was awesome and I read that last year, it was my first Picoult).

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Shame about Messenger - I meant to read it at some stage based off Thief, but I don't think I'll bother now. 

 

I don't know the twist in Girl!! Maybe I should grab it right now and test the theory that maybe its better not knowing the twist? I've heard a lot of great reviews of it and have been meaning to read it but again just one I haven't gotten to yet.

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Shame, I enjoyed I am the Messenger and The Girl, I gave them both 4/5 on GR. I Am The Messenger was quite morose and dark, maybe it was just up my street, and of course there was The Doorman! I did try another of his but it didn't grab me at all. The Girl was very different to what I normally read and I found it quite refreshing, it wouldn't make me pick up other books in the same genre but for me it was a good one off read. :)

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See I like morose and dark, so you're making me wonder should I pick it up. Hmmmm! Usually I quite broadly agree with both of you on books, so I'm curious which way I'd go on this.

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See I like morose and dark, so you're making me wonder should I pick it up. Hmmmm! Usually I quite broadly agree with both of you on books, so I'm curious which way I'd go on this.

It isn't a book to read if you want an exciting plot but I just loved the main character (and his dog), and the way he dealt with life. As did deferent from The Book Thief as it is possible to get!

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See I like morose and dark, so you're making me wonder should I pick it up.

 

If you want morose and dark, then I suggest A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. :lol: I finished it a couple of books back, so I haven't reviewed it yet (I'm about 10 books behind :doh: ) but I can safely say it's the most depressing book I've read. It's just a perpetual downer. :thud:

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Freakonomics - Steven D. Levitt and  Stephen J Dubner

 

I've had this book on my wishlist for ages. My local library had a copy so I was so chuffed and eager to get started on it. It's probably because my hopes were set so high that I was oh-so-disappointed in this.

 

To me, it feels very dated. I thought it was written in the early 90's, but I've just googled it and it was actually published in 2005. :blush2: To me, it felt very much out of sync with what's going on now, and has the feel of something published 20 years ago. :dunno:

 

A lot of the chapters didn't interest me at all. I found the correlation of the fall in crime rates with the legalisation of abortion (the infamous Roe vs Wade) years earlier very interesting, and I think that's the most oft discussed part about the book. However aside from that, the other chapters just didn't grab me. It could be that it's a very US-centric book, so I didn't understand or appreciate the importance of some things, but whatever the reason, I did struggle with it a lot.

 

A few other topics were about teachers who cheat (by amending students answers), sumo wrestlers purposefully losing fights, and why black people choose funny names for their children (found this generalisation borderline offensive).

 

Another thing that really grated on me, was the constant praises heaped upon the author. At the start of every chapter there was a paragraph or so quoting some article which mentions how brilliant the author was. EVERY chapter!!! Come on!! I found that pathetically needy....he needs to eat humble pie I think!!! Get over yourself!!! :angry:

 

Anyway, yeah in case you can't tell ( :giggle:), I didn't enjoy it much and I wouldn't recommend it. :ontome:

 

1/6

 

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Sorry you didn't really enjoy this book, great review though :). The praises, that would annoy me too I think!

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Sputnik Sweetheart - Haruki Murakami

 

I'm really getting into Murakami since he blew my mind with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.

 

This is told through the eyes of K (his full name is never given), who is secretly in love with his best friend Sumire. However, Sumire falls in love with an older married woman called Miu after a chance meeting at a wedding. Sumire then tries to come to terms with this, confiding in K about her feelings with random middle-of-the-night phone calls, in which she tries to get some meaning about what is going on around her.

 

Before long, Sumire is working for Miu and over the course of time is required to go on a business trip with Miu to Greece. Something strange happens in Greece after which Sumire goes missing, and Miu rings K and begs him to fly over immediately to find her.

 

As always, this was wonderfully written. There is so much every day and ordinary detail to what he writes about and he manages to do it in a way that is anything but dull. Usually it's a focus on cooking, but this time it seems to be clothing – especially with what Miu is wearing and this is mentioned in detail, yet doesn't come across as tedious or unnecessary.

 

There is only a small amount of surrealism, so it doesn't take over, but there is still a feeling of strangeness about it. It's not a large book, only 240 pages and easy to read. It didn't take me long to finish it (even though it's taken me months to review :blush2: ).

 

I liked it, but wasn't overly keen on the ending. I kind of wished it had ended in a different way, but if it had it wouldn't be the same book.

 

4/6

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Runner - Patrick Lee

 

Sam Dryden is out for a run which is what he does most days. Within minutes of starting running, a terrified 11 year old girl, Rachel is begging him for help, clearly running from something or someone. He helps her hide and watches as armed men circle the area, obviously trying to find her. They both manage to escape, but he loses his wallet in the process, which identifies him as a person of interest. Conveniently he happens to be ex elite-military, so when he and Rachel are both being hunted down, he has just the right tools and experience to evade and fight back.

 

This is a very fast-paced thriller that throws you right into the story from chapter one. There's no build up....just BAM, straight into the action from about the second page. It's an easy read, and great if you are in the mood for some mindless action, but it's also bit far-fetched and outlandish. It was ok to pass the time with, but I don't think I will bother with the other books in the series.

 

3/6

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Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan

 

It's the early 70's and Serena is a young woman who has recently graduated from university. After a brief affair with a married man, she is introduced by him into the MI5 program. Initially accepted into a lowly position, she is soon entrusted with project Sweet Tooth. This involves her building a relationship with a budding writer – while pretending to be a small publisher providing grants – with the intention of persuading him to write political material (in the guise of fiction) which hopefully will sway the public away from the idea of communism. However, things are complicated when Serena soon begins to fall in love with the writer, and struggles to maintain her secrecy about her true intentions.
 

This started off well, and Serena was an interesting enough character, but after the initial introduction about Serena and her background, the story slowed right down. In fact it's fair to say that it practically stopped! Pages and pages went by with nothing happening, and there just wasn't enough meat in the story to keep me interested.

 

In the end, I did a lot of skimming as I was just desperate to finish. I was very disappointed as I have enjoyed the other McEwan books I have read (Atonement and Saturday). I intended to read more of his books, but this one has really put me off.

 

Going by what other reviewers have said, it's very much a 'marmite' book, with many raving about it and many with my view.

 

2/6

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