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      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…     
karen.d

Karen.d's Reading List 2018

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16 hours ago, BSchultz19 said:

I really liked your review of The Handmaids Tale. I haven't seen the tv show, but I've heard such good things about the book and the show that I bought the book. I haven not gotten to reading it yet, but your review has me wanting to do it sooner rather than later. 

 

Thank you! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book, after you have read it :)

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Weekly Update 25/03/2018

 

This week has been a time of discovery for me. First, I discovered the wonderful novel ‘Three Things About Elsie’ by Joanna Cannon and then, I discovered poetry.

 

Poetry is a realm of writing, which I have always kept at arm’s length. It seemed to me, that Poetry was the kind of thing that I wasn’t able to access and understand. I always imagined it to be something that was only reserved for intellects and so called ‘knowledgeable’ people.

However this week, I discovered writer Jen Campbell’s ‘Dissect a Poem’ series on her YouTube Channel and I have found it, fascinating. It has made me realise that in whatever way you interpret a poem, there is no right or wrong answer. Each of these videos has a different guest interpreting a poem and the variety of opinions and interpretations, has been really diverse and has really got me thinking about poetry as an art form.

 

When I think about it, poetry can be compared to painting. As a person who enjoys painting, I know that my work can be interpreted at an aesthetic level, but also each person can take something different from looking at a picture. The same goes, with poetry.

 

So I will no longer be scared of reading poetry; I haven’t got the guts to write my own at the moment, but I’m eager to read and dissect more. I have had Mark Haddon’s poetry collection, ‘The Talking Horse and The Sad Girl and The Village Under The Sea’, sitting on my book shelf for a few weeks now, so I will read this. However, any of your poetry recommendations, would be great.

 

Whether it is poetry or a novel, do you dissect what you read? If so, how? Do you annotate books? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

 

 

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Review: 'Three Things About Elsie' by Joanna Cannon (with slight spoilers!)

 

 

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Publisher: The Borough Press

 

What the ‘blurb’ says:

 

There are three things you should know about Elsie.

The first thing is that she’s my best friend.

The second is that she always knows what to say to make you feel better.

And the third thing…might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home from the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

 

My thoughts:

 

Sorry for not having posted this review sooner. I wanted to have a break for Easter, before talking about his book.

 

‘Three Things About Elsie’ is a book which has been talked about a lot on BookTube and book blogs, over the last few weeks and months.

So, I was a bit dubious as to whether this novel was all hype and not actually going to be as good as people claimed it was.

The true is, this is a gem of a book.

 

One of the things that is special about this book, is the writing. ‘Three Things about Elsie’ had likeable, believable characters and even the secondary characters were as equally well-formed, as the main ones. I loved Handy Simon and Miss Ambrose and was pleased to find that both young and old characters, were equal in the story.

 

I also adored the brilliant, often profound observations of ageing, loneliness and life in general. This book pulled me into its story and even now, I still think about it.

 

Joanna Cannon’s turn of phrase, even when writing about the simplest of things, had me laughing out loud at times. Her descriptions of the landscape in which the story is set, were very good and I could easily imagine what the characters were seeing.

 

Another thing I really loved about the plot, was its success at building tension and intrigue throughout. This was a book which dealt with ageing, but it also had a gripping mystery, weaving its way throughout. At no point during this book, did I guess what was going to happen and that kept me reading.

 

On face value, most people would think that a novel about a octogenarian, wouldn’t appeal to a wide range of readers. However, Joanna Cannon’s story of finding your place within the world, speaks to all ages

.

‘Three Things About Elsie’ is a humorous, entertaining and wonderful read, which I absolutely loved.  This is the best book I have read in a LONG time. It also has one of the best covers too!

 

I strongly recommend this to everyone.

 

My Rating *****

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Three Things About Elsie sounds intriguing, I've added it to my TBR.

 

As for poetry, I love a lot of Irish poetry. Seamus Heaney is one of my favourites. I don't know if his work would resonate so much with a non-Irish person, (for example he has one called Bogland which is quite literally about bogs and their ability to preserve the past). But I like his work. 

 

'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' by Yeats is one of my all time favourites too. 

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It has been a while since I did a ‘Weekly Update’. I’ve been quite busy in general and I have been suffering from, what I can only describe to you, as a book hangover.

 

Since reading 'Three Things About Elsie' by Joanna Cannon, I’ve not been able to get into any other book. I have been participating in a ‘Read-a-thon’ this weekend, hoping to rekindle my enthusiasm for reading again and that incentive has helped a little. However, I’m still having problems getting into the book that I am reading, ‘Winter in Madrid’ by C. J Sansom, even though, it’s a good book.

 

Hopefully this feeling will fade and I will be able to focus on forthcoming books. Has anyone else felt like this?

 

Over the Easter break, I spent most of the time watching films. I’ve watched ‘Wonder Woman’, a major disappointment to my 4 year old self, ‘Coco’, the most unusual Disney film I’ve ever watched (I really liked it though) and ‘Rogue One’- a ‘Star Wars Story’, which I enjoyed, but it really reminded me of‘A New Hope’.

 

Over the rest of the weekend, I hope to make more progress with ‘Winter In Madrid’, that’s if, I can get out of this reading funk!

 

What have you been reading over the Easter Break?

 
Edited by karen.d

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I enjoyed Susanna Kearsley's "The Shadowy Horses", a nice gentle read, a bit of romance (albeit predictable), a bit of a ghost story.  Will try to post a review soon.

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3 hours ago, Madeleine said:

I enjoyed Susanna Kearsley's "The Shadowy Horses", a nice gentle read, a bit of romance (albeit predictable), a bit of a ghost story.  Will try to post a review soon.

I have never read anything by Susanna Kearsley, so I look forward to hearing what you think of 'The Shadowy Horses'.

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I've added 'Winter In Madrid' by C.J Sansom to my 'Did Not Finish' list. I managed to read about 200 pages of this and parts of this story were interesting, but the political element of this, really bogged me down. I know that it is important to discuss the oppression in Spain and the war in general, but I was gradually becoming more and more depressed by this book. Maybe this is a novel that you have to be in a particular mood to read, I guess I wasn't in the right mood to read this. Does anyone else have this?

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Sometimes you need to be in the right mood for a certain book. I'm a mood reader, and I get that too sometimes. I try to pick a book that will suit my mood, but when it doesn't, I tend to enjoy the book a whole lot less.

 

I hope you can find a book that suits your mood and will rekindle your mojo :).

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I love C J Sansom's Shardlake books but Winter in Madrid didn't appeal, for exactly the reasons you've mentioned.  I don't really like overly political books either.

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Hi everyone! I haven't posted for ages, because I have been busy. Lately I've read 'Cujo' by Stephen King, which I enjoyed and now I'm about halfway through 'How To Stop Time' by Matt Haig and I like this too. 

 

Just a quick question....or maybe several. Has anyone ever done a Buddy Read before? Did it enhance or hinder your reading experience? Would anyone be up for doing a buddy read with me in the future? I've seen a lot of buddy reads being done on BookTube and it looks like fun. Although I'm not sure, if it's more trouble than it's worth and I should just stick to reading on my own. Would love to hear what you think about this.

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I have read a book together with someone before (mostly by both reading it in the same week and then discussing the book after we had both read it), but from what I can tell what they mean on BookTube by a buddy read is that you agree to read certain chapters (or pages) per day or week, and then discuss those on Whatsapp or another messaging medium (I've watched a few 'How to Buddy Read' videos on BookTube). On BCF there are personal messages as well as the Group Reads forum.

 

Buddy reads don't appeal to me, because I generally can only really read one book at once and I'm very much a mood reader. I don't want to read further than the allotted chapters because I wouldn't want to spoil anything for someone else, but I generally only read one book at once so it means how much I read would be dependent on another person (or people), and I can't start another book alongside it because that confuses me. I would feel stressed if I was lagging behind. I'm very much a mood reader so I can't schedule my reading all that well. If I'm really not in the mood to read a specific book at a specific time (ie. of a month or in a year), then I won't enjoy it as much.

I've tried following along with some read-a-longs but I end up not feeling in the mood for the next scheduled book (ie. with Peter Likes Books book club or with the WoT-along by Bedtime Bookworm and Unicorn Hunter Books). I read one book for each of those (My Sweet Audrina and The Wheel of Time 2: The Great Hunt), but I'm not in the mood to read the next one scheduled (Heaven and The Wheel of Time 3: The Dragon Reborn, now they are onto book 4 already). Because I don't / can't read multiple books at once and because I am such a mood reader, I find it difficult to do a read-a-long, let alone a buddy read. I find it kind of a shame sometimes as it sounds like a lot of fun to discuss a book or book series with other people who read it at the same time.

 

But if you want to buddy read something with someone from BCF, maybe there are people who'd like to join you either via PM or in the Group Reads forum :).

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2 hours ago, Athena said:

I have read a book together with someone before (mostly by both reading it in the same week and then discussing the book after we had both read it), but from what I can tell what they mean on BookTube by a buddy read is that you agree to read certain chapters (or pages) per day or week, and then discuss those on Whatsapp or another messaging medium (I've watched a few 'How to Buddy Read' videos on BookTube). On BCF there are personal messages as well as the Group Reads forum.

 

Buddy reads don't appeal to me, because I generally can only really read one book at once and I'm very much a mood reader. I don't want to read further than the allotted chapters because I wouldn't want to spoil anything for someone else, but I generally only read one book at once so it means how much I read would be dependent on another person (or people), and I can't start another book alongside it because that confuses me. I would feel stressed if I was lagging behind. I'm very much a mood reader so I can't schedule my reading all that well. If I'm really not in the mood to read a specific book at a specific time (ie. of a month or in a year), then I won't enjoy it as much.

I've tried following along with some read-a-longs but I end up not feeling in the mood for the next scheduled book (ie. with Peter Likes Books book club or with the WoT-along by Bedtime Bookworm and Unicorn Hunter Books). I read one book for each of those (My Sweet Audrina and The Wheel of Time 2: The Great Hunt), but I'm not in the mood to read the next one scheduled (Heaven and The Wheel of Time 3: The Dragon Reborn, now they are onto book 4 already). Because I don't / can't read multiple books at once and because I am such a mood reader, I find it difficult to do a read-a-long, let alone a buddy read. I find it kind of a shame sometimes as it sounds like a lot of fun to discuss a book or book series with other people who read it at the same time.

 

But if you want to buddy read something with someone from BCF, maybe there are people who'd like to join you either via PM or in the Group Reads forum :).

 

I'm pretty similar to you. I can-t read more than one book at the time (that's why my book count isn't a large as some people).  will possibly think about buddy reads, but as I'm a slow reader, it might not be for me. Thanks for Sharing your experiences though!

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I'm just transferring some reviews from Facebook to here.

 

'The Alchemist' by Paul Coelho
What the ‘Blurb’ says:


‘Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book – a magical fable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above, all follow your dreams.

This is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world in search of a worldly treasure as fabulous as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers, and from there into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him

With Paulo’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, The Alchemist is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives’


My Thoughts:

I picked this book up at my local charity shop, after hearing some good things about it. To be honest, the cover also attracted me, because of its exotic colours.

Overall what I really liked about this book, was the fable-like quality of the writing. Although this novel was first published in 1988, when I was reading this it reminded me of an ancient text or an old children’s fable.

I loved the different descriptions of the places this novel is set. It felt like I was travelling along with the main character. Paulo, the main character was likeable, but in some ways, 2 dimensional. This novel wasn’t character driven. The main thing that the author wanted to focus on wasn’t the plot, but the message of striving for your dreams and also a higher power. Which brings me a problem I had with this book.

This novel is predominantly a vehicle to spread this message and ‘The Alchemist’ definitely gave me a lot to think about. At the beginning of this novel, the author successfully combined this message with good story telling. However, as I progressed further into this book, the story was waylaid by the message. At times, it felt like the writer was using convenient plot points to get his point across, rather than telling a good story. Therefore by the end of this book, to me it felt a bit preachy.

I enjoyed ‘The Alchemist’, but I wouldn’t recommend it solely as a fiction novel that you could read on the beach. This novel hasn’t changed my life as the ‘blurb’ suggests it might, but this is definitely a thought provoking book.

My Rating ***


 

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'On the Other Side' by Carrie Hope Fletcher 
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group


The ‘Blurb’ taken from the Amazon.UK website:

‘Your soul is too heavy to pass through this door, 
Leave the weight of the world in the world from before

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow, some way, she may also find her way back to the only man she ever truly loved . . .’


My Thoughts:

First of all, I would like to say that I’m a great admirer of Carrie Hope Fletcher. For those who don’t know who she is, Carrie Hope Fletcher is a very talented Musical Theatre Actress and vlogger. She also happens to be the sister of Tom Fletcher, from UK pop group ‘McFly.‘

Having followed her career so far, I was intrigued to read one of her books. I was anticipating that I was really going to enjoy this. There are some positives to this book, but overall, I was really disappointed.

I liked the set up of the story and the fact that there was a fantasy element to the story. I thought that the two younger characters were believable and dynamic. I think Carrie has modelled the main character Evie on herself to be honest, that’s why she was the most well-formed character. When it came to the older characters within this novel, I felt like Carrie couldn’t write from an older perspective. There are two characters within the story, who were siblings in their sixties or seventies, who argued as if they were still teenagers, which, to me, didn’t feel appropriate.

The writing was good, in general. Although at times, it felt as if Carrie Hope Fletcher had thrown in complicated ‘fancy’ vocabulary, in an attempt to look intelligent when in fact, it actually made the flow of the writing a bit clumsy.

The plot in itself, is your typical teenage romance story, mixed with a bit of fantasy. I thought that this was enjoyable, particularly the plot running through the past. However, there was one particular part of the story, which I had a real problem with. I won’t go into detail about what that part of the story was, but I found it extremely hard to believe. Even with the weirdest of ideas in novels, I think that there still needs to be an element of reality, to make it plausible. I can see what Carrie wanted to portray by using this element, but, as a lover of fantasy and horror, I found this element implausible and her idea could have been transmitted in other, more effective ways.

I really didn’t want to write such a critical review of this book, but I have to give you an honest review of the novels I have read. I still think that Carrie Hope Fletcher is a very talented woman, but maybe, not as an author.

If you like an escapist YA novel, then this might be for you. Sadly, this novel wasn’t my cup of tea.

My Rating: ** 1/2

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'How to Stop Time' Matt Haig

Publisher: Canongate


What the ‘Blurb’ says:

‘ Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love. 

‘How to Stop Time’ is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live.’


My Thoughts:

I’ve have never been the type of reader to annotate my books. In fact, before reading ‘How to Stop Time’ , the thought of defacing my books would make me shudder. But when I read this, I felt the urge to highlight this book because there is so many elements I wanted to remember about it.

You see, there are very few books that I have thought were written so beautifully, apart from ‘Three Things About Elsie’ by Joanna Cannon, that I have wanted go back and re- read sections of them. ‘How to Stop Time’ is another one of those books.

The story is divided into two parts, Tom’s present and his past. At the beginning, I thought that the past story was more interesting, than the present one. It was written with a lot more emotion and I enjoyed Tom’s encounters with famous historical characters, such as Shakespeare. However, as I progressed with this book, both strands of plot weaved nicely together.

As I said, this book is beautifully written. It not only has a believable characters, but it contains imagery which conveys not just the story, but insights into modern life:

‘ But the thing is: you cannot know the future. You look at the news and it looks terrifying. but you can never be sure. That is the whole thing with the future. You don’t know. At some points you have to accept that you don’t know. You have to stop slicking ahead and just concentrate on the page you are on.’

I also enjoyed the way Haig uses imagery to illustrate how the main character was feeling at the time. This imagery could be related to wider themes, such as identity, disability and society.

Whilst this book talks about some interesting themes, it’s also really funny in a subtle way. I particularly like this play on the Super Hero genre:

‘Silverman. Don’t you like it? It sounds like an ageing superhero. Which I kind of am.’

My only criticism of this book, and it’s only very minor, is that I wish that the present strand of story, was as strong as the past. But, I feel that the story has a satisfying conclusion.

This is a book with a fantasy edge, brilliant writing and is full of emotions. I can’t give this five stars, because I don’t think it’s quite as good as ‘Three Things About Elsie’, but it’s very, very close.

My Rating: ****

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'Cujo' by Stephen King 
Publisher: Gallery Books


What the ‘Blurb’ says: 

‘Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine . . . He was not a werewolf, vampire, ghoul, or unnameable creature from the enchanted forest or snow wastes; he was only a cop . . .

Cujo is a huge Saint Bernard dog, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. Then one day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole. Except it isn’t a rabbit warren any more. It is a cave inhabited by rabid bats.

And Cujo falls sick. Very sick. And the gentle giant who once protected the family becomes a vortex of horror inexorably drawing in all the people around him . . .’


My Thoughts:

Seeing as some booktubers and bloggers have made August ‘Stephen King Month’, I thought that ‘Cujo’ would be the ideal book, to get back into the swing of reviewing.

On the surface, ‘Cujo’ is a story about a Saint Bernard getting rabies and attacking people. But actually, when you look deeper into this book, it’s about the different forms of masculinity, which exist in society.

This book focuses in particular, on two families. You have one family, whose patriarch is a violent, sexist thug and the other, whose main male figure is dealing with the threat of not being able to provide for his family, due to his failing marketing company. Also, I found it interesting how the female characters dealt with this. For me, this contrast between the male and female characters, made for diverse reading and in turn, the characters were believable, because of the fact that they all had their issues.

I know this book is about a murderous dog, but, being a dog lover myself, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Cujo. I like how King wrote from the dog’s perspective.

Cujo couldn’t understand what was happening to him, as the Rabies disease gradually wracked his body. By having this emotive spin, it meant that this book just wasn’t about a senseless monster, but had some sort of heart to it.

Whilst I would say that some of the situations, particularly towards the end, were slightly unbelievable, I was kept on the edge of my seat through the entire book. I kept wondering ‘How are they going to get out of this situation?’ and so, I had to continue reading on, to find out.

Stephen King, as I’ve probably mentioned before, is one of my favourite writers, but that doesn’t mean that I have enjoyed all of his books, which I have read so far. ‘Cujo’ can not be counted as one of my favourite Stephen King novels, but I think that this was a very good read.

If you are looking for a book which grabs your attention, then I would recommend this book.

My Rating: ****

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Review- 'Library of Souls' by Ransom Riggs

I've recently finished reading 'Library of Souls' by Ransom Riggs and I thought that this was the best book in the series. I'm not sure if this book was the last in a trilogy or the new book due to come out, 
follows on from what happened in 'Library of Souls', but I liked the plot of this novel. 

Whilst I enjoyed the other two books, I think with 'Library of Souls', the story really gets going and this book was really well-paced and exciting. 

I liked the development of the characters and I also thought that the themes running through the book, about how power use others to gain power for themselves, was thought provoking and mature. The teen romance is the only thing that lets this down slightly throughout the other books, but that element was dealt with well in 'Library of Souls'. 

Also I think that the writing style is better in this novel. In the first novel, there were a few times where the writing seemed a bit awkward, but I think 'Library of Souls' is well written and at times, funny. At times, the story mirrored 'Harry Potter', but I still thought that it was still quite original.

I hope the new book continues Jacob's story, but even if that's the last thing we hear of this set of characters, this was a fitting end to their adventures. 

My Rating **** 1/2 Stars

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'Night Shift' by Stephen King.

 

This is the first short story collection by Stephen King, I've ever read. In fact, I wasn't even aware that he wrote short stories, until I saw this book in my local charity shop. I'm not much of a short story reader, so I found it a little difficult to get into. There were a few stories which for me, ended quite abruptly, like 'Graveyard Shift' and 'I am the doorway', but in general, I quite enjoyed this. I could see how Stephen King was inspired to flesh out some of the stories, like 'Salem's Lot' into creating a whole novel. Some of the stories were chilling, like 'The Woman in the Woman', which wasn't exactly scary, but still felt unnerving. However, some stories were a little silly, and as I was reading, it reminded me of the 'Point Horror' books that I read when I was a pre-teen. So it was quite a nostalgic read. I'm glad I read this book, but I don't know if I will be searching for any of King's short stories in the future.

 

My Rating ***

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 'Pet Semetary' by Stephen King (WITH Spoliers!)

I've just finished 'Pet Sematary' and have mixed thoughts about this.


On the positive, I liked the creepy, macabre writing. This book is full of dark atmosphere and some parts of this book gave me the chills just reading them. The characters are believable, even if some of their actions were a bit questionable and I liked how the story flowed.

However, what I wasn't too keen on, was the fact that during the book a couple of the characters, particularly the family's cat Winston Churchill and Ellie,the daughter, were built up to be important characters and in the end, were forgotten about. Whilst reading this, I spent a lot of the time wondering what had happened to them, when I should have been focusing on what was actually going on in the story at that time. Churchill does get rediscovered at the end of this book, but I'm still unsure what happened to Ellie. So I don't think all of the strands of story were tied up as well as they should have been. So for me, the ending of this book was just ok, if slightly frustrating, due to the actions of certain characters.

I haven't seen the original film adaptation of this novel, but I'd be interested in watching the adaptation coming out this year, to see how this translates int0 film.

My Rating *** ½

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2 hours ago, karen.d said:

Review- 'Library of Souls' by Ransom Riggs

I've recently finished reading 'Library of Souls' by Ransom Riggs and I thought that this was the best book in the series. I'm not sure if this book was the last in a trilogy or the new book due to come out, 
follows on from what happened in 'Library of Souls', but I liked the plot of this novel. 

Whilst I enjoyed the other two books, I think with 'Library of Souls', the story really gets going and this book was really well-paced and exciting. 

I liked the development of the characters and I also thought that the themes running through the book, about how power use others to gain power for themselves, was thought provoking and mature. The teen romance is the only thing that lets this down slightly throughout the other books, but that element was dealt with well in 'Library of Souls'. 

Also I think that the writing style is better in this novel. In the first novel, there were a few times where the writing seemed a bit awkward, but I think 'Library of Souls' is well written and at times, funny. At times, the story mirrored 'Harry Potter', but I still thought that it was still quite original.

I hope the new book continues Jacob's story, but even if that's the last thing we hear of this set of characters, this was a fitting end to their adventures. 

My Rating **** 1/2 Stars

Karen, I received A Map of Days in the post today and I can confirm that Jacob and friends are in the fourth book, although from the blurb it looks like it is going off on a different tangent.

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27 minutes ago, chaliepud said:

Karen, I received A Map of Days in the post today and I can confirm that Jacob and friends are in the fourth book, although from the blurb it looks like it is going off on a different tangent.

 

Great! It would be a shame not to continue their story. I really want to read this book, so I look forward to hearing what you think of 'A Map of Days'.

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oh%2Bdear%2Bsilvia.jpg
Publisher : Penguin

What the 'blurb' says:

'Silvia Shute lies in a hospital bed. Family and friends are at her side, each thinking they know the real Silvia. But do they? For Silvia hides a secret. And as her visitors gather, so the truth about Silvia is slowly revealed...'

My Thoughts:

I had never read anything by Dawn French (for anyone who doesn't know who she is, she is a famous British comedian, best known as one half of comedy duo French and Saunders) before reading 'Oh Dear Silvia' and to be honest, I had low expectations of it.

 It's not that I didn't like Dawn French, I think she is a very funny woman. However with there being a current trend of celebrities writing cheesy, badly written chick-lit and selling copies because of  their names alone, I thought this was going to be the same. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The writing is this book is very good. The descriptions are, at times, beautiful and each of the characters are believable and diverse. Even though the main character doesn't utter a single word throughout the book, I still felt that I knew her because of the other characters and their complex relationships with each other. One of the characters, Silvia's sister Jo, for me felt like a bit of cartoon character at the beginning. There is a scene involving her in the book, which I felt didn't fit in with the tone of the story, but I still laughed at it though. As the book progressed though, I did warm to her.

The pace of the book was slow, but I felt that this was effective, because it allowed the story to unfold at a natural pace. Towards the end, however, one of the more sinister elements of the plot, was concluded slightly quicker and in more lighthearted way,  than it should have been. In my opinion, this could have been dealt with better and with more impact.

Overall, I'm glad that I read this book because on the whole, it's written with sensitivity and subtle wit. I look forward to reading more of Dawn French's novels in the future.

My Rating ****

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

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I'm glad you enjoyed the book Karen. I have the same reaction as you when I see a celebrity has written a book, there definitely seems to be a trend for it at the moment.

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