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    • Michelle

      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.


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About Hayley

  • Rank
    Mega Bibliophile
  • Birthday 04/25/1992

Profile Information

  • Reading now?
    The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde
  • Gender
  • Location:
    Birmingham (UK)
  • Interests
    Apart from reading, I like playing the guitar and writing sometimes :)

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2,024 profile views
  1. General questions / discussions

    I'm really sad that the forum is closing, there truly is nothing else quite like it. But I'm so glad I got to be part of it for so long, and meet so many lovely people. Thank you @Michelle and all the moderators who made the forum such a wonderful space to interact with other book lovers! I'd love to keep in touch with as many people as possible. I've joined the LibraryThing group as 'HayleyF' (I think it's going to take a while to get used to that site though!) and I've changed my goodreads username to HayleyBCF so that hopefully I'm easier to find on there (if you see a fluffy panda, you're in the right place!).
  2. The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zaphon 2.5 / 5 - I liked it I feel quite mean only giving this 2.5, but I didn't enjoy as much as books I've recently given 3 to. I do think that this is technically a good book, but of all the books I've read by this author, it was my least favourite. This was the first novel Carlos Ruiz Zaphon ever had published and I think that shows in the fact that this plot seemed less adventurous, a little more generic, than any of his future books. There's a horror element at the center of the plot which does sometimes feel scary but at other times, particularly earlier in the book, the scare tactics are so obvious and generic that it takes all the scariness out of them. At the same time though there is still that brilliant, slightly magical atmosphere Zaphon captures in later books, the characters are good, individual, well-written and there's a sad but sweet message behind the plot as a whole about the second world war (although this is also maybe not as subtle as it might have been). It's a good, clever, interesting quick read. I think I just have very high expectations from this author that The Prince of Mist didn't quite live up to. But I also recently read that the fourth book in his 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' series is going to be published in English in September this year! I am very excited
  3. Thank you I thought The Player of Games sounded good actually so I look forward to trying that one! I have quite a few reviews to catch up on again now! I'll go through them in the order they were read... No Name by Wilkie Collins 4/5 - I really liked it Having read The Moonstone and The Woman in White by Collins, this wasn't exactly what I expected. The plot is essentially based on the complete lack of legal power women were allowed in the nineteenth century (which is actually also a big part of The Woman in White). When the two sisters of the novel, Magdalen and Norah, tragically lose both of their parents, they also discover that their parents were not married at the time of their birth. They become nameless, losing their home and everything belonging to their parents. The two have very different personalities though and so, while Norah throws herself into work, Magdalen sets off on a crazy adventure to take back what rightly belongs to her and her sister. Magdalen is a really brilliant character, it's impossible not to really get behind her as she fights to overcome all of the problems that stand in her way. She apparently wasn't quite as popular in the 1860s, when Collins was criticised for the "immorality" of the novel, but I think that just makes me like her more! It's quite an intense novel, although there are some more light hearted moments and characters breaking it up, the sense of serious injustice is always present and at times quite heartbreaking. (Big spoiler relating to the end of the book) I would definitely recommend this. It's the first book I've read in a long time where I was really tempted to skip to the end to find out what would happen.
  4. Little Pixie`s Bookshelf 2018

    That's so cute! Maybe he wanted to read Dewey's Nine Lives Hope you enjoy your new books!
  5. Wild World

    Wow, thank you! Mystery solved!
  6. Wild World

    Great pictures! I would love to see a bear with her cubs! I can never take a good picture of the birds in my garden. I only have my phone and it just doesn't focus quickly enough. We have had some lovely birds in the last few days though. My favourites are the robins, blue tits and goldfinches I have a little mystery that it might be worth mentioning here, in case anybody has an idea. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Cotswolds with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. The wildlife there was amazing, we saw a whole herd of deer and a little muntjac deer, I'm not knowledgeable enough to identify all the birds we saw but there were a lot! But we were walking in a forest when my friend stopped and motioned for us to look up a tree. I just saw something dart up the other side of it as I looked but, although we stood watching for quite a while, nothing appeared again. So I asked my friend what we were looking for and he said it looked like a squirrel, but it was black and white! Specifically, he's absolutely sure it had a white section on its tail. He thought it might be some kind of escaped exotic pet, but there was an obvious squirrel nest further up that tree (which is where I assume it disappeared to) so I do think it was a squirrel. I googled black and white squirrel, on the off chance that whatever the thing was might show up and, weirdly, found a story on the mail online about a woman who had seen both a very rare white squirrel and a black squirrel in the same tree, in the Cotswolds! It could be unrelated, but it seemed an odd coincidence. I also wondered if it could be a varied stage of albino. I know this can happen in birds because I remembered seeing a display of blackbirds with varying levels of albinism in the natural history museum on a school trip, some only had patches of white feathers but were otherwise black. So, does anybody have any suggestions on what the 'black and white squirrel' was?
  7. Little Pixie`s Bookshelf 2018

    I love the cover of 'A Hiss Before Dying' very cute. These are great, I would love to have room for that many books! They all seem to have incredibly high ceilings though.
  8. There's a book that came out recently called 'Circe' by Madeline Miller. It's the story of Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios, from Greek mythology and it's had very good reviews (although I haven't read it yet personally). The hardback is also very pretty and would make a nice gift (I noticed the other day there are even some signed ones on the Waterstones website). I recently read 'The Bear and the Nightingale' by Katherine Arden which was brilliant. It's heavily based on Russian myth and fairy tale (although probably more fairy tale). Here's a short synopsis: 'Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden. In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church. But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods...' And Neil Gaiman's 'Norse Mythology' is a fairly recent one that's had very good reviews. I'm sure she'll really appreciate the effort to find her the perfect book anyway. Good luck!
  9. thank you! They do all have really pretty covers don't they!? That's why I wanted to take a picture of them that way, rather than just a stack Thanks! The plot sounds like something I would like so I have high hopes! They had quite a lot of Vance books in but the others were all science fiction and I wasn't sure whether some of them were part of a series or not so didn't want to risk it. I'll have to keep a look out for the third Lyonesse. A really quick review of Consider Phlebas, before I forget: Consider Phlebas by Ian M. Banks 3/5 - I liked it This is the first 'space opera' I've read and, to be honest, I expected there to be a lot more actual space exploration. I was looking forward to descriptions of vastly different worlds and species but it's just not like that. There are a few different places in the book but with the exception of two they're either only briefly mentioned or you only get to see the inside of a building. I do realise it's unfair to judge a book based on what I assumed it would be like, but I would have enjoyed more world exploration. The exploration that did happen didn't feel quite as exciting as I think it should have either. There were scenes that, looking back at the book, were really action packed and should have been very tense, but I just didn't feel like that when I was reading it. Generally though, the characters were interesting and it's easy to get involved with the main character, Horza. The best part of the book actually, in my opinion, was the very clever way Banks gets you to see both people and politics from both sides of the story. Horza is strongly opposed to the group known as the Culture, mostly on the grounds that they've set out to "improve" other races and are heavily involved in the creation and use of artificial intelligence (arguably creating a situation where evolution ends and individual cultures are stamped out). He therefore sides with the Idirans, a race essentially built for war and the only group who seem to able to challenge the Culture. That's the basic background of the book (which you learn in the first few pages, so no spoilers) but gradually throughout the book, while you mostly see things from Horza's perspective, which is very one sided, there are moments that make you question whether there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' side and also the extent to which people can be 'good' or 'bad', or are just doing what they think is best. It's quite a brutal book, emotionally, but it's in that clever, subtle use of science fiction to look at human emotions and choices, both personal and political, that you can see why people rave about Banks as a particularly special author. Since I finished the book I have seen a few reviews that say this is the worst book of the Culture novels and, if that's the case, I really look forward to reading the next one because there's a lot to like here.
  10. Thanks for the link @Little Pixie, it does sound like she's focused on other things now. I suppose there's some chance there might be a third Kate Stanley book in the future still, after the current project is finished maybe. The end of The Shakespeare Curse... And yeah, that is true, a hardback book for £1 is great anyway! It really was so lucky! I didn't even know there were books in there! We've had the loveliest weather in the Midlands for the last couple of days, so yesterday I drove my mom and sister to Astley book farm, which has a really nice café with a garden to sit in (and, you know, books). As well as enjoying the sunshine in the garden, with tea and strawberry tarts, we did inevitably find a few books to take home too. Lyonesse was a book @vodkafan recommended a while ago but it seems to only be available second hand online (which is usually fine but it's always nicer to be able to see the condition of the book for yourself) or in quite expensive special editions, so I was really pleased to spot that as well as the second book (although I think there is a third book too). The others are all books I've looked at before and wanted to try so I was very happy with my new haul! And it made me feel a lot less guilty about my six books when my sister bought ten
  11. From Earth to Moon - Jules Verne (Help with this book)

    What a pretty book! I can't believe someone put it in the recycling I could be wrong but I think it probably states 'author's copyright edition' because of the issues raised about copyright in the mid 1800s. Particularly the fact that books were being printed and sold in America without the authors permission (and obviously without them receiving any money for their books there). It was an issue Dickens was very involved in and I can't remember the exact year but it did end up bringing in some new laws about reprinting books. I think 'author's copyright edition' literally means that that this is an edition which has the author's permission to be reprinted and sold, under those new laws. I thought the cover thing was very weird, but I did an image search for the publishers and Jules Verne and it looks like they used the same cover for a lot of his books. I have no idea why, it looks like it was designed for 'The Mysterious Island' to me. Anyway, I followed the image search and found this website with the publication history of 'From the Earth to the Moon,' which says your edition is circa 1920 http://julesverne.ca/vernebooks/jvbkfromearth.html I'm glad you saved it from being recycled
  12. Really?? Honestly, I think that makes the ending of The Shakespeare Curse even more of a let down! I definitely felt like the end implied there was more to come. Since I last posted it's been my birthday and I'm lucky enough to have a couple of newly acquired books to update this thread with . So, going on the list now is The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. I'm really looking forward to both of them but especially The Girl in the Tower, as it's the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale and I loved that book! I also got some Terry Pratchett books from my sister (in the Corgi editions with the black and gold cover, which I really want to collect all of) but I won't put those on the list of books acquired this year, since I'm crossing the Discworld novels off a different list and don't want to get confused! Just before my birthday I also had a really good book find. I went to Weymouth for a couple of days and came across an art exhibition, in a town hall, in a really tiny village. Luckily we decided to go in and have a look because they also happened to have a table full of books for sale! The majority of the books were 50p and I got a really lovely hardback edition of The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse from that table. I have read the book before but it was on the shelf in a holiday place I stayed at, so I had to leave it behind when I left. But that wasn't the best part. On a little table there were a few books with a note that said 'first editions - £1' and there were two Terry Pratchett books on there! So I now have lovely first edition copies of Witches Abroad and Night Watch! Initially I did wonder whether I should feel bad about buying them for a pound because surely they were worth a lot more but when I looked more closely at them I decided they probably weren't really worth that much. Witches Abroad isn't a 'true first', it's the third impression, and it's ex library, and although Night Watch, to the best of my knowledge, is actually a true first, someone has cut the corner of the dust jacket off to remove the price. So, although a collector of first editions probably wouldn't like them, I love them and was very excited I forgot that I hadn't posted a review of Consider Phlebas, so I'll get on to that! I have been reading No Name by Wilkie Collins (slowly, I've barely had any time to read for the past couple of weeks!) which I got from the library. Usually I only really take non fiction books out from the library and they don't go on the list, so this is a first! Although I am fairly certain I'll finish it, I might make some kind of note on the list that it's a library book and shouldn't be moved up to the 'on my shelf' list at the end of the year.
  13. I'm glad to see you liked Caraval, I have it on my shelf and I think it was the similarities to The Night Circus that attracted me to it too. I'm interested to see what the part you didn't like was though! I've only read four of the Dickens books not already marked on your list but I wouldn't personally bother reading them in publication order. Of the four (Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House and Little Dorrit) David Copperfield is my favourite and I think probably Dombey and Son my second favourite, although I loved all of them to be honest! I know a lot of people consider Bleak House the best book Dickens wrote and I think it's probably the best example of the way he intertwines the stories of different characters, which is great. So basically I think they're all brilliant and that really wasn't very helpful I feel the same about The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I do want to read it eventually but I know it's going to be really frustrating not ever being able to find out the intended ending!
  14. Little Pixie`s Bookshelf 2018

    Wow, great book haul! And I'm really glad you posted that picture because I saw Fated, thought 'I'm sure I've seen that before' and when I looked it up it's a book I saw ages ago and wanted to read but I'd forgotten the name of it! I got to 'magical cat' and thought ooooh, I want to read this . Bookshops, magic, mysteries and cats - sounds like an excellent combination!
  15. I'm glad it's not just me because I really felt like I should love it, I just didn't. I actually have The Well of Lost Plots to read but I've been saving it It really is a cool concept! I think that's what made it so disappointing. It should have been brilliant but it just fell a bit flat. I would still recommend trying it though, it's not a bad book, it just could have been better. The Shakespeare Curse by J.L. Carrell 3/5 (but very close to 2 1/2) This is the second book in a series (at least, I assume there are going to be more) and I honestly just didn't think it was as good as the first one. It is incredibly well researched, and the author deserves a lot of credit for that. There's even quite a long section at the back further explaining the history and truth behind some of the facts in the book. But when it came to the story telling, the characters just weren't quite right. The main character, Kate, was interesting in the previous book but in this one it seemed as though she basically got dragged around by other characters, occasionally contributing an essential piece of Shakespeare knowledge. Ben, who acted as a sort of side-kick in the last book was also an interesting character, but in this book he was so pointless I don't really understand why he was even there. I found that I didn't really care about any of the murdered people, even though I'm pretty sure you're meant to, there was just no emotional connection really. And then some of the unravelling of the mystery near the end was a bit sort of 'what? really?' but not in a good way. It wasn't a bad book because I did get really gripped by the mystery and wanted to stay up to read the next chapter and find out what would happen. But it wasn't memorable and it felt like a step back from the previous book. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge 4/5 I picked this up in a charity shop because I loved Fly By Night by the same author. This book is completely different to that but still very unique and clever. It also turned out to be a Victorian era setting, which I didn't know before I bought it, but was a definite bonus! The book (as the cover suggests, really) has quite a dark atmosphere and, although it's obviously suitable for younger readers as well, it's very emotionally intense in parts. For example, you already know from the blurb that Faith's father is going to die, because that is a key part of the plot, but when that moment actually comes it still feels genuinely shocking. The story does have some very obvious messages. As you would expect, one is about lies and the scale of the consequences they can have. One is about women's roles in Victorian society, the way they were dismissed as less intelligent, the limited choice they have in their lives and the way men were able to control them to an extent. That was particularly interesting to me but it also played a part in the third message, which was essentially about growing up and being at that indistinct point between childhood and adulthood. The main character (Faith) sees the adult world differently, because she's not quite part of it yet, but she is also old enough to have recently begun understanding exactly what the adult world is all about, and to judge the adults around her for their actions. Even though the book is written in the third person, this perspective still comes across perfectly and it's hard not to sympathise with Faith. It is a very good book with a unique, interesting concept which is clearly written very skillfully. I have acquired a couple of new books recently because I went into a Marie Curie charity shop and they were having a 'buy one get one free' offer on books. I spotted The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zaphon straight away and had to get that because I love the authors other books and then I decided to get The Muse by Jessie Burton as the second book. I have heard good things about The Muse (and it also has a really pretty cover) but I felt so disappointed by the ending of Jessie Burton's other book, The Miniaturist, that I was a bit put off reading it. I do really like the sound of it though, so fingers crossed. I'm reading Consider Phlebas by Ian M. Banks at the moment, which I think is the first book I've ever read from the 'space opera' genre and so far so good!