Jump to content
bobblybear

Bobblybear's Book List - 2017

Recommended Posts

Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons

 

This one is about 'mind-vampires' who have the “Ability” - this means they can control other people, usually to make them commit murders. Saul's first experience with this was in a concentration camp in WW2. He managed to escape and has spent his whole life intent on proving this and hunting down the mind-vampire who controlled him in Germany.

 

The present time is 1980, and three mind-vampires have engaged in a competition to outdo each other with murders they commit using their abilities. However this competitions spills over into a jealous fight and they go their separate ways, intending to use their powers on each other.

 

I'm just going to have to give up on Dan Simmons. All of his books start off so interesting but around the 50% mark I just get fed up. They are not interesting enough to be so long, and I get worn out and end up skimming through to the end. This would have been far better I'm sure if he'd condensed it down to half the size.

 

2/6

Edited by bobblybear

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

 

I enjoyed Matt Haig's fiction books and was intrigued by this topic. I wouldn't say I've ever suffered from depression but I do like to read things that motivate my mood and I thought this might help.

 

It was told in short snappy chapters, about his experiences of depression. From when it first hit him and how he has eventually come to terms with it. There was a lot of insight into depression and how it made him feel, but no specific details as to what cured him. Some chapters were just thoughts he had, like lists of things that made him happy.

 

I know there was a lot of controversy that came out after this book was published, that he was anti-drug or something along those lines?? I don't actually recall reading anything specific about that in this book, but it has been several months since I read it, so it could be that I simply don't recall.

 

Interesting reading, but I don't know if it would necessarily 'help' someone who suffers with depression.

 

3/6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking for Alaska - John Green

 

It's so difficult to write reviews of books that I read months ago. I think I finished this one 5 months ago, so I can only go by the sketchy notes I made at the time. :blush:

 

Miles has opted to go to boarding school for his last two years of school. He moves to Alabama, and soon becomes fast friends with Chip, Alaska and Takumi. The story centres around Mile's and Alaska's friendship, and his desire to find out what makes her tick.

 

Not usually a big fan of Young Adult but this one was ok. I can't recall much about it unfortunately, but I didn't have strong feelings about it either way. Some people go mad for John Green books but I'm not one of them.

 

3/6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I Ever Wanted - Kristan Higgins

 

I have no idea why I bought this. No idea! It's a Mills and Boon book for goodness sakes, and I've never been remotely interested in those books at all. :lol: However, having said that, I did manage to read it through to the end. 

 

Callie has been in love with her boss for a long time. They were school friends, and were involved romantically for a couple of months, until Mark ended things. Now Mark is engaged to someone else, Callie is devastated, but of course a new man has arrived in town.....etc. You can guess what happens next. :rolleyes:

 

It was ok, but very predictable and not my usual read. If you are into romances, you'll probably love it.

 

3/6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No Way Back - Rick Mofina

 

Reporter Tom Reed is on the verge of resigning when a local jewellery story is robbed. He is assigned to the story only to find that his wife Ann is a hostage.
 

OK, I don't remember anything about this. The notes I made on this was:  “Fast read - can be read in 4 hours, but ultimately forgettable.” :lol: :blush:

 

Oops.:blush:

 

3/6

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bobblybear said:

Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons

2/6

 

Shame this wasn't so great. I've only read two of his books (so far), Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion.

 

1 hour ago, bobblybear said:

Looking for Alaska - John Green

 

It's so difficult to write reviews of books that I read months ago. I think I finished this one 5 months ago, so I can only go by the sketchy notes I made at the time. :blush:

 

Miles has opted to go to boarding school for his last two years of school. He moves to Alabama, and soon becomes fast friends with Chip, Alaska and Takumi. The story centres around Mile's and Alaska's friendship, and his desire to find out what makes her tick.

 

Not usually a big fan of Young Adult but this one was ok. I can't recall much about it unfortunately, but I didn't have strong feelings about it either way. Some people go mad for John Green books but I'm not one of them.

 

3/6

 

I've read a couple of John Green books but I haven't read this one yet. Shame it was just okay for you.

 

1 hour ago, bobblybear said:

No Way Back - Rick Mofina

 

Reporter Tom Reed is on the verge of resigning when a local jewellery story is robbed. He is assigned to the story only to find that his wife Ann is a hostage.
 

OK, I don't remember anything about this. The notes I made on this was:  “Fast read - can be read in 4 hours, but ultimately forgettable.” :lol: :blush:

 

Oops.:blush:

 

3/6

 

:lol: LOL!!

 

I hope you're able to read some books you'll enjoy more :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The House at Riverton - Kate Morton

 

This is the second Kate Morton book I have read. The main character – Grace - is now in her late 90s; she has been approached by a filmmaker who is making a movie about Riverton Manor which is where Grace worked many years ago as a maid. The crux of the film is the unexplained suicide of a young man during Grace's time there and rumoured to be caused by a love triangle.

 

So Grace tells the story of her time at Riverton Manor and the children of the family, who she grew to consider as friends over the years.

 

As with the other Kate Morton I have read, this one was well written, but perhaps a bit too long. The story was interesting enough but the revelation of the man's suicide wasn't anything remarkable, and because so much emphasis was put on it, it felt like a let-down when it was revealed. That's only a minor criticism though.

 

Recommended.

 

4/6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without a Doubt - Marcia Clark

 

This is the prosecuting attorney's detailed account of the OJ Simpson murder trial. I only knew the basics about what happened – the infamous glove scene, the civil trial – and that was about it. This was such an eye-opener. It was so informative, and I presume that everything mentioned is publicly available knowledge, but it is shocking that he got away with it given all the evidence against him.

 

Clark also talks a bit about her personal life alongside the time of the trials, and how she was hounded by the media and her response to that.

 

A very interesting read, even if you don't have a particular interest in the case.

 

5/6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last Man In Tower - Avarind Adiga

 

This is the second book by Avarind Adiga that I have read and I really enjoyed it.

 

Set in Bombay, the story hinges around a densely populated high-rise residential building. A real estate developer is intent on buying this crumbling building in order to tear it down and build a luxury apartment complex. He offers the residents a very generous financial sum in return for their agreement to leave. The majority of residents are all in favour and sign the paperwork, but a handful of them think it is a con, and refuse to move. One of these is Masterji, who is a retired school teacher and respected for holding free lessons for the children of the building. Soon, he finds himself under increasing pressure and threats of violence from his neighbours for not budging on his refusal to move.

 

This was a very powerful read, about strength of character, principles, and sticking to your guns, no matter what.

 

Each character is described in detail, so we see their relationships at the start of the book and how money changes them by the end. The ending is pretty shocking but probably not unexpected, and I found myself hating some of characters who were very nice at the start of the book.

 

Highly recommended.

 

5/6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should still read a Kate Morton book. I'm glad you liked The House at Riverton. Which books have you read by her, and which one did you like best? (apologies if I've asked this before and you posted about it, my memory is like a sieve lately..).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read The Forgotten Garden, which I enjoyed more than The House At Riverton. Unfortunately I read it so long ago that I can't really remember what it was about. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/2/2017 at 7:50 PM, bobblybear said:

I've read The Forgotten Garden, which I enjoyed more than The House At Riverton. Unfortunately I read it so long ago that I can't really remember what it was about. :lol:

 

Haha, well that happens to me too :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few mini-reviews:

 

The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton 

 

This is one I had been looking forward to, but when I finished it I couldn't help but feel it was a very average book which had been marketed very well. There were a couple of storylines – one around the dollhouse full of miniature figurines, and another based around Nella's relationship with her new husband.

There were many loose ends left at the end of the book; I couldn't see the connection between the two storylines, and I think the book would have worked just as well if the dollhouse plotline had been omitted. The story of Nella and her husband was interesting enough without adding on a gimmicky storyline that was distracting at best. Disappointing

 

2/6

 

The End of Mr Y - Scarlett Thomas

 

The story revolves around a supposedly cursed book called The End of Mr Y. Our protagonist stumbles upon this book in a second-hand bookstore, and attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding it. This leads her to a world of talking mice, time travel and strange men (possibly from the CIA) who are trying to kill her. It is an extremely cerebral and strange novel. It's the third book I have read by Scarlett Thomas, and I have enjoyed all of them on some level. This one was the oddest of all, and I know I lost track towards the end as I couldn't wrap my brain around all the concepts covered. Still it's well worth a read, but not a relaxing one!

 

5/6

 

 

End of Watch - Stephen King

 

This is the last in the recent Stephen King trilogy, which started with Mr Mercedes.

 

Bill Hodges is still operating as a private investigator with his sidekick Holly, and together they are pulled into a number of recent murders. Evidence at the crime scenes suggests that Brady Hartsfield (from the earlier books) is somehow responsible, even though he is in a vegetative state in a nearby hospital.

 

Overall, this was a very disappointing finish to the series (which never wholly grabbed me anyway). A supernatural element was added and this changed the whole tone of the series into something that was frankly silly.

 

1.5/6

 

The Sixth Extinction - Elizabeth Kolbert

 

Non-fiction book which covers the 5 extinction events that have happened since life began on Earth. Some scientists believe that we are now in the midst of the 6th extinction, helped along by our impact on the environment. The book breaks down each of these extinctions in separate chapters. There are also detailed sections covering some specific current extinctions (ie. particular species of frogs and bats). These - especially of the bats - were very upsetting to read.  There was also a lot of focus on what effect humans have had. Pretty depressing overall.

 

5/6

 

Last Night in Montreal - Emily St John Mandel

 

I loved Station Eleven, but this is a completely different genre, so perhaps it's unfair to compare the two. The main character, Lillia has a habit of abandoning boyfriends, literally overnight and with no explanation. When she does this with her current boyfriend Eli, he decides to dig deeper into her life and her part to find out why she does this.

I wasn't all that taken in with the explanation and I found Lillia to be selfish, rather than an interesting character. I couldn't fully get her motives and found the premise behind it to be weak. Average.

 

3/6

 

The Jigsaw Man - Paul Britton

 

Written by a forensic psychologist who has assisted in many high profile cases. Here he speaks of them and how his input has assisted in finding the guilty person.

It has to be said though that he has now been disbarred from assisting the police after his involvement in the investigation of Rachel Nickell's murder (on Wimbledon Common). I wasn't aware of this when I started reading the book, and I think if I had it would has changed my mind about it.
 

As it stands, I did enjoy it and it has to be one of the most interesting books on true crime I have read.

 

5/6

 

The Circle - Dave Eggers

 

Set in the near future, The Circle is an organisation which links everything via social media to the nth degree. Full transparency and sharing of experiences and feelings is encouraged. Mae joins this company somewhat naïvely and is soon fully involved in this new lifestyle of sharing and oversharing. It begins to invade her private life and that of her family and friends. It's a very exaggerated view of what is happening today with Facebook and twitter etc., but perhaps too exaggerated so it lost some of it's impact.

 

I thought this was a pretty poor book, followed by an extremely poor movie.


1.5/6

 

 

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon - Brad Stone

 

I thought this was a very balanced view of Amazon (and Jeff Bezos), and how it has grown to be the humongous company it is today. It is critical and complimentary in equal measures, but you can sense the admiration that the author has. It's hard to believe how much the company has achieved in such a short space of time. I liked reading how unique Bezos is in his management style, though I imagine he'd be pretty brutal to work for. Recommended.

 

5/6

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice mini-reviews :). It's a shame there were a few books in there you didn't really like :(. Gladly there were also a few you did like :). The book about Amazon sounds interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting reviews - well done on getting so many done!  We'll have to agree to disagree on The End of Mr Y - I couldn't even finish it - but oh so agree with you on The Circle, a serious contender for my Duffer of the Year.  I did finish this, but only because it was a book group read!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×