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      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  

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  1. Today
  2. Time to start a new book and I've gone for Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe.
  3. Starting the audiobook version of A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn #1) by Ngaio Marsh. Seems okay, as the plot is good, but the narrator’s voice is a bit annoying.
  4. Bought Dickens The Pickwick Papers from Audible deal yesterday. So that’s 32 hours & 27 minutes to listen to! Something to listen to in the winter, I think.
  5. Update time. Dangerous Hero by Tom Bower (3/5) A non-fiction book all about the last Labour leader Jeremy Corbin. The book charts his political career and his time as leader up until the last general election. Like many people in the UK I was impressed by Corbin when he first surfaced as a candidate for the position of Labour leader. Over time however I couldn't agree with his position on certain things and although I appreciate that politics is never black and white I just felt that he wasn't the right person to lead the country or the Labour party. This book addresses many of the allegations thrown his way when he was leader, especially his lack of action when it comes to anti-semitism inside the party. After reading the book I don't believe he is necessarily a bad person and he definitely stands by his principles but he is easily lead by those around him. The book was pretty good but I do see why there have been some accusations of it being a hatchet job even if I don't feel that way myself. Stasiland by Anna Funder (4/5) A re-read for me. In this book Funder talks to people affected by the Stasi in east Germany during the Cold War on both sides. This is a really good book with more of a human touch than others on the subject. It works so well because Funder includes those who were in the Stasi as well as those who were their victims. Dune by Frank Herbert (3/5) This is one of those 'must read' sci-fi books that always comes up in lists. I like watching Sci-Fi but I find it hard to get on with in books from time to time. I was intimidated by the size of the book but I still wanted to read it before the movie comes out. In steps Audible meaning I was able to listen to it while working and driving. I can't say how much of it's magic is lost is audiobook form but I did enjoy this one. I felt differently towards the protagonist Paul at different times which is what I imagine Herbet wanted when he wrote this. Broken Ground by Val McDermid (5/5) The 5th book in the Karen Pirie series. In this one Karen investigates a body discovered in farm land when 2 southerner are searching for something hidden by their grandfather at the end of the second world war. Every book in the series I read gets better than the one before it. The plotting is great and she writes fantastic characters who are very believable. If you haven't read any of McDermids books so far and you like crime novels then I urge you so pick one up as soon as you can. Nine Lives by Aimen Dean (5/5) This strap line for this book is "My time as MI6's top spy inside as-Qaeda" and this really grabbed my attention. I was intrigued as to how this would work, how do you get a spy inside an organisation such as al-Qaeda and get good intel back without risking their cover? As it turns out Dean joined al-Qaeda as a young man and over time he disagreed with what they were doing when it involved killing other Muslims or innocent by-standers. Eventually he gets into trouble with the authorities and opts to take this opportunity to stop what al-Qaeda is planning. This book is really, really good, written by someone who is clearly a very intelligent person. Dean looks at what motivated him and others to join up with al-Qaeda and how their networks operate. He also explains how hard spying was on an emotional, physical, and mental level. He ends up the book by explaining how he thinks governements can stop young people being seduced by al-Qaeda and how moderate Muslims must bring these men back to the fold. Three to Kill by Jean-Patrick Manchette (5/5) Late on night in France, traveling salesman Georges Gerfaut stops to help a motorist involved in what looks like a traffic accident. A few days later Georges is attacked by 2 men who try to kill him for reasons unknown to him. Georges goes on the run and tries to unravel why these men are trying to kill him. I had read one previous Manchette book which I really enjoyed so I jumped at the chance to read another. This one was just as good. His writing is tight and is pretty much perfect 70's French noir in style. I have already added his other books which have been translated into English in my wishlist. Into Thin Air by John Krakauer (5/5) Another Audiobook read. This book is Krakauer's well received account into the 1996 everest disaster. I know quite a lot about the disaster as I have read about it quite widely but had avoided Into Thin Air thus far. I had read that Krakaeur treated climber Anatoli Boukreev unfairly in the book when I read The Climb and this put me off of reading Into Thin Air. I finally decided to give it a shot and I'm so glad I did as this book really lives up to it's reputation. Krakauer climbed a fair bit when he was younger but his career as a journalist had taken him away from his hobby. He wanted to write about the growing commercialisation of Everest expeditions and was commissioned to do so by a magazine. One thing lead to another and the magazine bought a place for him on the best expedition companiy at the time, Adventure Consultants lead by Rob Hall. By the time the expedition was over, 12 people had died including very expedition leaders and experienced climbers, Rob Hall and Scott Fisher. The book looks into Krakauer's personal experience of climbing Everest and tries to piece togther what actually happened with the benefit of speaking to others involved after the event. Krakauer is a very good writer and that alone had earned the book 4 stars from me. Where he earns the 5th star is in the final section of the book where he reveals the negative correspondence he got following the publication of the article he wrote. He has been accused of not helping and in fact ignoring those in peril amongst other things. At this point I think most writers would have ignored this correspondence or chose to defend their position but Krakauer does neither. He presents it as what it is, a different opinion on what happened and leaves it as that for the reader to decide. Having read this book, my opinion on him with regards to the event has changed, and although I still think he is a little harsh on Boukreev I don't begrudge his opiniom even if I disagree with it. Binary by John Lange (2/5) A rich political radical John Wright is plotting a terrorist event and federal agent John Graves is charged with trying to find out what it is and to put a top to it. This book was a pretty by the numbers thriller and nothing more in my opinion. The characters are not very well developed but as the book reaches it's conclusion it does get pretty exciting. John Lange is a pseudonym for Michael Crichton and it's clear that this was one of his early books.
  6. Yesterday
  7. Last week
  8. Raven's Reads

    Well, I did make it to 10 books by the end of June, but then I went through what I think is termed "a fallow period". Not quite sure what has happened to my reading mojo; I completed Inversions and being the first Iain M. Banks book I have read for a long while, and having rather enjoyed it, I went straight on to Surface Detail, which is a very different book - though still enjoyable - but I just ground. to. a. halt... Then, a couple of weeks back the following popped up in the Kindle Deal of the Day, and I just finished it tonight... Doctor Who: At Childhood's End By Sophie Aldred Once upon a time, there was a girl who travelled through time and space in a blue box with an impossibly old man, but one day they parted and went their separate ways in less than cheery circumstances. Many years later, the girl now grown, met up with an impossibly young woman, who claimed to have once been an impossibly old man... Side note: I'm beginning to think this whole COVID situation is starting to drive me crackers... So, a Doctor Who book written by Sophie Aldred about an older Ace (her companion character in the late 90's, for those who don't know) meeting up with the current Jodie Whittaker incarnation of the Doctor. I loved Ace when I was growing up; she was strong, feisty and pretty damn hot - she also famously took out a Dalek with a baseball bat! Her pairing with Sylvester McCoy's Doctor worked wonderfully well, and following on from one of the less successful periods in the show's history they started to turn it around and do the kind of character development with Ace that wouldn't look out of place in the new series. It was therefore disappointing that in 1989 the BBC pulled the plug on the show and we never got a third series with Ace and - crucially for this book - no departure story. Scroll on 30 years and now that tale can be told, and I'm sorry to say its a little disappointing itself. McCoy's Doctor - again, for those not watching at the time - had a tendency to be rather manipulative when it came to those around him, and that character trait is used as the reason for Ace's departure from the TARDIS. Whilst the reason's for Ace's departure are utterly plausible, I can't help being a little sad that is how one of my favourite pairings in the show came to an end. But that isn't the end of the story, it's just the beginning! Ace (or to use her real name, Dorothy McShane) is now the successful CEO of a global charity* that is trying to save the planet, but that's just the day job; in her spare time, she's a cross between James Bond (fast cars and secret lairs) and Marie Curie (if the latter had been into explosives, rather than slowly poisoning herself). Teenagers are going missing from the streets of London, and Ace is on the case, but chasing a thread from the other end of the story, so are the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz. To be honest, it's a bit of a convoluted plot, and one that makes use of one of the less impressive elements of Ace's backstory (and one that already had an explanation to boot!) but that's all fluff; if you are reading this book, it is probably to catch up with Ace and to see how she interacts with a different, female Doctor. The former largely works; Ace being in charge and distant from the people in her life is very believable (and draws an interesting parallel with her former mentor) but for all the good she seems to be doing in the world, she doesn't seem to have been able to move on from her travels with the Doctor. The Doctor, on the other hand, has certainly moved on and the two characters together make an interesting pairing, but not one that is really explored very deeply in this book (without giving anything away, the end of the book is rather abrupt, and it feels as though it is missing some wrap up scenes, especially one that I felt was needed between Ace and Yaz). Overall, there is quite a bit here to like, and there is a good hit of nostalgia for the older fans, but the story itself is rather weak and after the initial, interesting mystery, it devolves into a rather run of the mill resolution. If you are not a fan of Ace, or the current incarnation of Doctor Who, then it's probably not one for you. For my own part, I think it just misses the mark (I don't normally give books ratings out of five, but if I did this would be a solid three). Entertaining enough, but definitely one of the fans. Oh, and if Big Finish don't end up spinning off a series of audio adventures from this, I will eat my baseball bat. *A Charitable Earth, geddit? - you can thank Russell T Davis for that one...
  9. Finished Ben Aaronovitch’s Moon Over Soho. And I’m so glad that I listened to it, as it was as good as Rivers of London! The plot(s) were great, and the whole of the book seemed to be less chaotic than RoL. Looking forward to listen to #3 soon, but after so much excitement with Aaronovitch and Jodi Taylor book recently, I think I’ll find Lissa Evans’ V for Victory next.
  10. My Day in Books

    My day in books I began my day with Bookends on my way to work, I saw Normal People and walked by The Undomestic Goddess to avoid The Beast Of Buckingham Palace but I made sure to stop at Jurassic Park in the office, my boss said Match Me If You Can and sent me to research The Selection at lunch with The Lost Tudor princess I noticed One Little Mistake under The Holiday Home then went back to my desk... The Last Battle Later on the journey home, I bought Afternoon tea at the Sunflower Cafe because I have The Golden bird then settling down for the evening, I picked up The Tinderbox and studied Sharp Objects before saying goodnight to My Single Friend
  11. Let Me Go Lover - Joan Weber
  12. Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths
  13. Finished the audiobook of And the Rest is History (The Chronicles of St Mary’s #8) by Jodi Taylor. I won’t do a review (as anything in the book is littered with spoilers), just to say that #8 was the best of the series so far!
  14. Please Please Me - The Beatles
  15. The last one to post here wins

    what joke.
  16. Was slow to get the joke.
  17. I have both of these on my TBR! I have read a couple of books by Milly Johnson and really liked them, so I'm glad to hear you loved Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café! I've read one book by Jane Green which I really liked, so I'm glad you're enjoying Bookends so far! I'm in the middle of two books at the moment, and both of them I'm reading together with a different friend. The first one is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which I think we will finish tomorrow, we started it last week Monday. I'm loving it so far. The second book is Artemis Fowl 6: Artemis Fowl en de tijdparadox (Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox) by Eoin Colfer, which I'm liking. Since both of those are buddy reads, I'll probably pick another book to read for myself soon. Yesterday I finished Fablehaven 2: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull, which was a buddy read together with a friend. I also finished The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (I read that one just on my own).
  18. Please Release Me - Engelbert Humperdink
  19. The last one to post here wins

    He who laughs last:
  20. How many books have you read this year?

    25, normally it would be at least 10 more at this time of year.
  21. Never Ending Book Titles

    Good Morning Midnight - Reginald Hall
  22. Tom's Midnight Garden ~ Phillipa Pearce
  23. If you can, you may need to see a somnologist.
  24. Please Mr Postman ~ The Marvelettes
  25. hope you feel better soon.
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