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      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.
ian

Ian's reading 2017

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Having now read the first two, and someway into the third, I would definitely say they need to be read in order. The same people who told me that the series picks up also told me it tails off after the third book or so. That's a shame, but I'm afraid I will have to finish it now - I've become too involved!

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On 4/10/2017 at 1:33 PM, ian said:

Having now read the first two, and someway into the third, I would definitely say they need to be read in order. The same people who told me that the series picks up also told me it tails off after the third book or so. That's a shame, but I'm afraid I will have to finish it now - I've become too involved!

 

Nah, the fourth is the best one, imo. :smile: Book 5 is pretty good too. The latter books are not quite as good iirc, but I've only read them once (whereas I've read the first 4 many times) so I need to revisit them to be sure. It's definitely a series that lasts in the memory though, and it's interesting to read in general because it's intervoven into many of SK's other novels.

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10 hours ago, More reading time required said:

It's definitely a series that lasts in the memory though, and it's interesting to read in general because it's intervoven into many of SK's other novels.

 

That sounds interesting :smile:! I do like it when author's do that.

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The Waste Lands (Dark Tower 3) by Stephen King

Roland, The Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares—as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah.
Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes—both more and less than human....

 

My Thoughts

I'm fully invested in these characters now, so I found this is a very easy read. I love how everything just fits together nicely, referencing the earlier books without seeming forced. My only negative - I found the part in-between the village of River Crossing and the City of Lud a bit over long; a bit a blank where not much happens, but other than that really good. And is that a not-so subtle reference to The Hobbit at the end there? Riddles anywayand Blaine saying "I hate you forever"? 4/5

 

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On 4/14/2017 at 10:20 PM, More reading time required said:

 

Nah, the fourth is the best one, imo. :smile: Book 5 is pretty good too. The latter books are not quite as good iirc, but I've only read them once (whereas I've read the first 4 many times) so I need to revisit them to be sure. It's definitely a series that lasts in the memory though, and it's interesting to read in general because it's intervoven into many of SK's other novels.

 

That's really good to know. I'm starting the fourth one now. 

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Book 14: Wizard and Glass - Stephen King (The Dark Tower 4)

 

Synopsis

 

Roland of Gilead and his fellow pilgrims determine to reach the Dark Tower, but their quest is rife with confrontation, conflict and sacrifice - from a vast computer system which bargains in riddles to Roland's old enemy Walter and the wizard's glass. (taken from Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

I am in two minds about this. On the one hand, this is a good story, mostly taken up with Roland's back story from when he first became a Gunslinger. On the other hand, this is a massive detour away from the central story of Roland's, Eddie's, Susannah & Jake's quest for the tower. So, while I was interested to see Roland's story, and meet  Cuthbert & Alain, I couldn't help myself: part of me at the back of my brain was going " get on with it"!   It will be one of those books that when I come to re-read it, will get a higher rating, just because I know what to expect.  Still the ending is great - no spoilers here though! 3/5

 

 

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Shame you didn't enjoy it as much as the others in the series. I know what you mean about the book taking a detour; from what I recall the majority of it is Roland's backstory. I have a soft-spot for it ....it was the first book in the series that I read (I'd heard it could be read as a stand-alone), and I just loved the story, even though I wasn't familiar with any of the characters.

 

I really must read this series again, but I just remember struggling through the first book, and that is kind of putting me off.

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Book 15: The Snow Tiger by Desmond Bagley

 

A small mining community in New Zealand is devastated when 'the snow tiger' (an avalanche) rips apart their entire township in a matter of minutes, killing fifty-four people. In the course of the ensuing enquiry, the antagonisms and fears of the community are laid bare, and a ruthless battle, for control of a multi-million pound international mining group, is exposed. The tension in the courtroom mounts as each survivor gives his graphic account of the terrifying sequence of events. (taken from Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

I decided I needed a break from the Dark Tower books, so I let the book jar decide. I hadn't read any Desmond Bagley in ages, and this one didn't disappoint. Yes, it is a bit dated at some points - this was written in 1975 and it definitely fits into the British thriller genre of the time. All the hero's are men; stoic and good in a crisis. (if it was a film, it would have had Paul Newman or maybe Cary Grant in it)  Still, I liked it. The story follows a slightly unusual narrative; it takes the form of an enquiry onto an avalanche, filled out with numerous flashbacks, as the people called as witnesses relive their experiences. The author obviously did his research into avalanches, but there is a nice balance between the technical and the story. It builds the tension nicely.  The ending was perhaps a little abrupt, something which seems to be a common thing with his books. Good stuff 4/5.

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18 hours ago, bobblybear said:

Shame you didn't enjoy it as much as the others in the series. I know what you mean about the book taking a detour; from what I recall the majority of it is Roland's backstory. I have a soft-spot for it ....it was the first book in the series that I read (I'd heard it could be read as a stand-alone), and I just loved the story, even though I wasn't familiar with any of the characters.

 

I really must read this series again, but I just remember struggling through the first book, and that is kind of putting me off.

 

If I had known it was mostly back-story going in, it wouldn't have bothered me at all, which is why I think I would score it higher on a re-read.  I would agree with you on the first book - I felt it was a little... "thin" is the best word I can think of to describe it.

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Book 16: Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin

 

At night the summer sky stays light over Edinburgh. But in a shadowy, crumbling housing development, a junkie lies dead of an overdose, his bruised body surrounded by signs of Satanic worship. John Rebus could call the death and accident--but won't. Instead, he tracks down a violent-tempered young woman who knew the dead boy and heard him cry out his terrifyng last words: "Hide! Hide!" Now, with the help of a bright, conflicted young detective, Rebus is following the girl through a brutal world of bad deals, bad dope and bad company. From a beautiful city's darkest side to the private sanctums of the upper crust, Rebus is seeking the perfect hiding place for a killer  (taken from Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

A very early Rebus book that I hadn't read before. It's a good read, but it isn't quite as good as the later boosk. Rebus isn't quite as cynical as in later books, and maybe not quite as fully formed. Still, it's an interesting read, and exposes a seedy underbelly to Edinburgh.  4/5

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Book 17. Wolves of the Calla (dark Tower 5)  - Stephen King

Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World on their quest for the Dark Tower. Their path takes them to the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis. But beyond the tranquil farm town, the ground rises to the hulking darkness of Thunderclap, the source of a terrible affliction that is stealing the town's soul. The wolves of Thunderclap and their unspeakable depredation are coming. To resist them is to risk all, but these are odds the gunslingers are used to. Their guns, however, will not be enough....

 

My Thoughts

I've basically been reading the whole series this year, and to my mind this was the best so far. In part, I think that is because I am used to the way these books are written now. These books go off onto massive tangents, and this is no different. Carrying on straight after the events of book 4, the gunslingers find themselves in a town that has a problem. Roland and his gang - his "ka-tet" are obliged to help, once more taking them away from there quest for the Tower, but the town has another surprise; a priest called Callahan. Stephen King fans will recognise him as the priest from Salem's lot, and so the tangent here is Callahan's story after we last see him in Salem's lot till now. (Don't worry if you haven't read Salem's lot, it's all summarised). So, for that, and for the unfolding story, I can only give this 5/5 

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So, now I have a bit of a quandary. I have all the dark Tower series ready to go on my Kindle, but I feel a bit guilty for the ever-increasing pile of "real" books that aren't being read. (yes, I realise I've just admitted feeling guilty about neglecting a pile of inanimate objects). But, I also have another problem.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I put my Kindle in my work bag next to one of those ice-pack things that was keeping my lunch cool. I thought I had kept it away, but it was too close, and it completely drained the battery. Ever since, the battery on it only lasts a couple of days, and I think it's getting shorter. Oh dear. So, now I want to rush and finish all the books on there before the thing dies completely.  I'm annoyed at myself, 'cos I've got no one but myself to blame, but by the same token, I've had it a while now.

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I'm glad to hear The Dark Tower series is enjoyable to you :). I actually bought Salem's Lot recently so it's good to know it might be an idea to read it before The Dark Tower series (not that I can read the series - I haven't got books 1, 2, 3 and 6).

 

I'm so sorry to hear about your Kindle and its battery life :(. I hope it'll hold on a while longer.

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There's always something else to spend money on, it seems, and let's face it, good, second-hand books are plentiful and cheap. Also, everyone knows I'm mad on books, so birthdays and Christmas will always see me get a good haul. Then there's swapping books with my mother-in-law (we have very similar taste in books) and of course, the library.  So, it's actually quite rare that I'll go into a "proper" book shop and spend money on myself.

 

I'd been given a voucher for Waterstones for my birthday, and this was the first opportunity I've had to get browsing. Typically, once I was in there, my mind went blank of all the books and authors that had filled my wish list up to then, but I came out with three.

 

Alastair Reynolds - On the Steel Breeze

Alastair Reynolds - Posideon's Wake

Joe Hill - The Fireman

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book 18. Song of Susannah - Stephen King

 

The next-to-last novel in Stephen King's seven-volume magnum opus, Song of Susannah is at once a book of revelation, a fascinating key to the unfolding mystery of the Dark Tower, and a fast-paced story of double-barreled suspense.

To give birth to her "chap," demon-mother Mia has usurped the body of Susannah Dean and used the power of Black Thirteen to transport to New York City in the summer of 1999. The city is strange to Susannah...and terrifying to the "daughter of none," who shares her body and mind.

Saving the Tower depends not only on rescuing Susannah but also on securing the vacant lot Calvin Tower owns before he loses it to the Sombra Corporation. Enlisting the aid of Manni senders, the remaining katet climbs to the Doorway Cave...and discovers that magic has its own mind. It falls to the boy, the billy-bumbler, and the fallen priest to find Susannah-Mia, who, in a struggle to cope with each other and with an alien environment "go todash" to Castle Discordia on the border of End-World. In that forsaken place, Mia reveals her origins, her purpose, and her fierce desire to mother whatever creature the two of them have carried to term.

Eddie and Roland, meanwhile, tumble into western Maine in the summer of 1977, a world that should be idyllic but isn't. For one thing, it is real, and the bullets are flying.

These are the simple vectors of a story rich in complexity and conflict. Its dual climaxes, one at the entrance to a deadly dining establishment and the other appended to the pages of a writer's journal, will leave readers gasping for the saga's final volume (which, Dear Reader, follows soon, say thank ya). - Taken from Goodreads

 

My Thoughts.

 

I'm going to try and put what I think without spoilers. Because there is a big WHAT?! moment at the end of this book. Having avoided any sort of spoilery comments myself for these, I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone else. Let's just say - I've always been a bit of SK fanboy, and I've always thought that King, like a lot of talented people, blur the lines between genius and insanity. This book makes me think he's definitely both. The whole book is excellent, no doubt, but the ending! I don't think I've ever read a book where I thought "Surely he's not going to...Oh wow, he just did"! I saw it coming, I just wasn't sure I believed he (King) would have the audacity.

 

He did. I loved it. 5/5

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On ‎03‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 10:42 PM, Little Pixie said:

How's the kindle doing now - any improvement ? :)

 

 

Sadly not. I was hoping a few charges would sort it out, but no. I have just about got into the habit of checking the charge on it on a daily basis, but it seems a little uneven. It seems to go from 100% to 50% quite slowly, but from there to 5% in a few hours. In all, I'm charging it about once a week. Doesn't sound too bad when you put it like that, but when you're used to it being 6 weeks between charges, it's annoying. And of course, it catches me at the worst possible moments; sitting at a bench around the corner from my office at lunchtime seems to be favourite. Oh well.

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Boo. :(

 

Did you try that thing where you reformat the kindle by holding in the on/off button for 20secs, oslt?  Or maybe that's only something to try as a last resort, if the battery`s so iffy.

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Glad you're enjoying the Stephen King series :).

 

8 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

Boo. :(

 

Did you try that thing where you reformat the kindle by holding in the on/off button for 20secs, oslt?  Or maybe that's only something to try as a last resort, if the battery`s so iffy.

 

If you do that, perhaps do it while it's plugged into the charger. I've done that before and it takes a little while for it to reset itself. Just so it doesn't drain the battery too quickly, best to do that while it's plugged in.

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Thanks both - I will try that, but I don't want to lose the last book, so I'll wait till I've finished the one I'm reading now

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Book 19: The Dark Tower - Stephen King

 

My thoughts

How do I review that? I have spent the last two weeks immersed in other worlds where nothing can be taken for granted, even death. Longer, if you count all the previous books in the series. The only thing I knew about these books going into them was that a lot of people were upset be the ending, so I was prepared for that. I can see their point, it isn't an entirely happy ending, but it is one that made me think. And you can't say you aren't warned - King actually does warn you to stop reading if you don't like unhappy endings.

 

And therein lies the genius of this - I'm not going to pretend that I have this all figured out, but at least part of this book/series is about obsession; how it takes over from everything else in our lives, so it becomes a end to itself, rather than a means to an end. Looked at that way, the ending makes perfect sense. I also love the way he (king) rips up the rule book a little. The characters need a deus ex machine? Then Stephen king, as himself, leaves them one in the form of a letter to them, helpfully addressed with "here comes the Deus Ex Machina" on the envelope! It's slightly mad and unpredictable.

 

One of the signs of a good read for me is: do you think about the book after you've finished reading? The answer in this case is yes. And while it isn't perfect (and what book is - especially one of this length and complexity) it was very, very satisfying. 5/5

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