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Hayley

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  1. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    The Shakespeare Secret by J.L. Carrell - Well Researched Literary Thriller A friend recommended this book to me years ago, she absolutely loved it so I found a copy but then didn't get round to reading it until now . I think I was worried that it could just be wildly inaccurate for the sake of making the plot more exciting but it actually seems very well researched and the author includes a section at the end explaining the origin of the facts and stating where she altered them for the story (which actually isn't that much). The plot itself I really liked, it was definitely gripping and had a lot of unexpected twists and tense moments. The way various Shakespeare plays get twined into the plot was quite interesting and clever too. As far as negatives go there were a couple of moments where things started to get a bit clichéd and, particularly in the few sections which went back into the past, there were sometimes so many characters which had been only briefly mentioned and therefore didn't have anything very defining about them, it got a bit confusing. Enjoyable to read overall though. I've actually had a really interesting week when it comes to books! First a friend gave me a load of Iain M. Banks books, which had been given to them originally but they don't read. Then I went to a different friends house, got into a conversation about books (which turned out to be really awkward when I discovered I was the only person in the room who read for fun!) and my friend opened a cupboard which was literally full of boxes of books they had bought but never read! They told me to borrow whatever I wanted and started piling books into my arms (I have good friends ) so since I last posted here I now have: The Railway Children by E. Nesbit Irish Ghost Stories ed. David Stuart Davies Written in Bone by Simon Beckett Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov ed. Robert Chandler A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and by Iain M. Banks: Matter Excession The Algebraist Feersum Endjinn Use of Weapons The Player of Games Inversions Consider Phlebas I've never read anything by Banks before so I'm really hoping I like him now! I also can't fit them all on my bookshelf so I'm going to have to try and sort out some books at some point! Since my shelve are probably going to change a lot between now and the end of the month I'm going to leave my list on this thread as it is and add these in to the new one I'll start for next year. Because the first lot of books are borrowed I feel like I need to read those first so I can return them as soon as possible. I've started with The Railway Children. I know I watched the film when I was younger and used to like it but I can barely remember anything about it now. It shouldn't take me too long to read, it's only a small book so I should be back soon
  2. Dombey and Son

    It's from a nursery rhyme: 'Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a white horse; with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.' When I was little my nan and grandad would sit me on their lap and bounce me on their knee (sort of like you're riding a horse) to the rhyme. Assuming that is the tradition and not just them, that's what I always thought the part in Dombey and Son meant
  3. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    I think the problem was the first couple of stories really got my hopes up and then the last two especially felt like a bit of a let down. Some of the stories in it were good though, if you can get it cheaply I would still say it's worth giving it a try. It's really not scary though so definitely don't get it with that expectation! Yeah actually that is something I really liked about it, it made me more likely to just pick it up and read a couple of pages when I had 5 minutes because that would finish a whole section So, as for an actual review: The Resurrectionist byJames Bradley - Fast Paced but Lacking Two of the criticisms I read about this book before I started was that it was split into annoyingly short sections and that the main character was not likeable. So, first of all I'm going to say I liked the short sections and I completely understand why the author used them and I think it's pretty clear that the reader is not supposed to like the main character. Basically, the book follows the life of a young man apprenticed to a renowned surgeon, written in first person from the view of this young man. As things start to spiral further out of control you do have to read between the lines a little, since obviously the narration is biased and the main character doesn't necessarily see the whole picture. I liked that, I thought it was clever and interesting although sometimes pretty disturbing too, as it was supposed to be. I was literally all ready to give it a really good review and say I don't know why some people rated it so badly until I got to very, very near the end, where I became so confused I literally checked to see if my copy of the book was missing pages. I can't say much without spoilers but there is basically a section at the end of the book that is like reading a completely different book. In a way it was clever, but I don't think it worked and ultimately it made me feel as though we had abandoned the original story and let it fall flat. It also didn't feel very believable. It was a very interesting concept, I enjoyed it probably more than I expected to but I think the last part really let it down. After I finished The Resurrectionist I started reading Only We Know by Karen Perry and finished it in a couple of days because I had to know what happened at the end Only we Know by Karen Perry - A Really Good Mystery This isn't exactly an amazing life changing book and it doesn't do anything incredibly new but it was such a good mystery! It had really good pace, lots of unexpected twists and some good unique characters. It's the kind of mystery that unravels itself a piece at a time, using three different perspectives to gradually open everything up. I would hate to give anything away but if you want a good, gripping, easy-to-read, psychological mystery, this one is worth reading.
  4. Noll's 2016 Books and Cross-Stitch

    I love your cross stitch! Are you going to have it as a decoration? I hope that if you decide to go through with the interview (if if hasn't happened already?) it all goes well. My sister suffers from really severe anxiety, your last post reminds me of the way she can be when a stressful situation is approaching. If it was her I was talking to I would probably tell her don't put yourself through that, especially not to make other people happy, your health is far more important. You're clearly a kind and intelligent person though so if you do go for it, they'd be lucky to have you
  5. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Thanks Yeah it has a thing on the front saying 'Richard and Judy's Summer read.' It also has a quote on the front from Marcus Zusak recommending it and I really like his books so I definitely want to give it a chance. When I flicked through some of the reviews it seemed like it was the layout that bothered a lot of people (it's made up of very short sections) but I actually think it works.
  6. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    I finished The Mistletoe Bride a while ago and then forgot to review it so here's a few quick thoughts... The Mistletoe Bride by Kate Mosse - Psychological Folklore The two words above basically sum up the content of the stories in this book. None of them are actually scary, though there are definitely some creepy moments and all are either based entirely on a story from folklore or are purely psychological exploration. In general, I enjoyed reading this, because I do like both folklore and things with a psychological edge. There were a couple of stories I didn't enjoy - one was the script of a short play - just because I felt like there wasn't anything very special about them. They were just quite boring and flat. Taking those out of the question, I'm glad I read the book, I definitely learnt some new folklore, but I wouldn't say anything in it was really amazing. I don't think anything else by Mosse is going to live up to The Labyrinth for me! I started reading The Resurrectionist by James Bradley and I'm about a quarter of the way through at the moment. It's a book I found in a charity shop, it had a Victorian setting and the blurb sounded interesting, but when I added it to my goodreads list I realised it has some really bad reviews, so I've sort of been putting it off. I will say it's not the most exciting book I've ever read so far but I'm still interested enough to keep reading so we'll see!
  7. Autumn's Book Log 2017

    I like your challenge idea it is a shame that the e-books don't have page numbers though!
  8. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Yeah I think it would be a good one, I've only had time to read the first couple of stories so far but it seems really good, very psychological.
  9. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Yes, I didn't realise until you mentioned it but it does have a picture before each story! They all look suitably creepy I'm glad you think it will be good for Halloween! I would agree that Kate Riordan seems like a good writer, I'll definitely have a look at what else she's written I'll be really interested to see what you both think when you get round to it!
  10. Noll's 2016 Books and Cross-Stitch

    Aww, the bunny and robin look really cute, I think it's going to turn out well I didn't know you could cross stitch on completely blank fabric, that sounds like it would be a nightmare!
  11. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Thanks Athena, I definitely think they're worth trying Well that would explain it! Thank you! Glad the others must be worth reading, if you're up to book 12! I think I'll wait a while before looking for Side Jobs, since I don't want to read ahead and spoil anything! The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan - Enjoyable but Frustrating This is going to be one of those reviews that's difficult without spoilers, so it might be fairly short! The blurb of this book compares it to Kate Mosse, and the similarities are very obvious. The format of one chapter following a character in the past and the next a character later in history, for a start, and also the verging-on-the-supernatural edge. Personally, I really like that and both characters in this case were interesting and had developed, very different, personal stories. There are two key themes in the book. The first is sexism and the position of women (specifically in the late 1800's compared to the early 1930's) the second is mental illness, which is closely linked with the first. As the book progressed I found the haunting psychological aspect really intriguing and started to think I was really going to like this book. Unfortunately, for me anyway, I felt like it never developed the way it could have. It left me feeling that, although the story is all wrapped up at the end, it was anti-climactic. (putting this part in spoiler not because it actually tells you the end but because I think you might find the ending easy to guess from it - if you starting reading the book) So although I enjoyed reading the majority of the book, I just didn't feel it was quite as good as it could have been. I'm not really sure what I feel like reading now. I think I might go with The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse since it seems appropriately Halloween related
  12. The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016

    I wasn't sure what to think about this. For a minute when I first saw the headline I wondered if it was a different Bob Dylan they were talking about! Music and poetry are, of course, very closely related. There's no denying that the example Chrissy gave above could be read as a poem without any music but, at the same time, don't we have to draw the line somewhere between music and literature? With the vast amount of music awards available, should the Nobel prize for literature not go to someone who's devoted their lives to literature, rather than music? It's a tough one. I think it will trigger some interesting debates on the literary value of song lyrics though.
  13. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Thanks Athena I'd love to get a collection of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales in the same style as my Grimm one as well, I'll be keeping a look out! I have seen children's versions of some of the stories before, there were a couple of times while I was reading that I realised I'd read that story as a child, but a version with easier language and less violence! I finally have my crazy week over with! I went to bed early last night, thinking I'd just unwind by reading a few pages of my book and then getting a good nights sleep - then stayed up until nearly 2 in the morning because I had to find out what happened at the end . So, on that book: Grave Peril (Dresden Files book 3) by Jim Butcher - Completely gripping but slightly confusing! Firstly, this really felt different to the first two books. It seemed like other characters were playing a much bigger part, the danger felt more serious and it gave the impression of a main plot that will be carried on throughout the rest of the series (rather than being a single detective case) and those things were all good. On the other hand, it added so much so suddenly, I felt like I was missing something a lot of the time. I seriously wondered if I'd missed a book at one point, but I hadn't. A lot has happened between book 2 and this one that you just have to pick up as you go along. I thought that was a bit weird. And to get all the negatives out the way at once (and I know I've probably said the same thing about this series before) sometimes I just feel like it's being really unnecessarily sexual. When it's part of the plot, that's fine, but the majority of female characters get a detailed description of their breasts at some point and are frequently wearing something either extremely tight or barely there. But, putting that aside... clearly, since I stayed up until 2 in the morning reading it, it was a gripping read. I did think a couple of the things Harry was trying to work out were actually pretty obvious, but there's a lot happening so it's not too bad. There are quite a few very dramatic moments, the kind where you think 'how can they possibly get out of this?' Which is always fun, and it was really nice to see more of the supernatural world (the Nevernever) and learn more about how it works. I definitely feel like this book has set up a deeper story line for the future so I'm interested to see where it's going next! I'm going to save the next Dresden Files book for a while so I decided to give The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan a go. Someone gave me this book because they'd been given it and they don't read. It says on the blurb 'for fans of Kate Mosse' so fingers crossed, it will be good
  14. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    That's an interesting idea! I'm not sure I'd have the patience to actually wait though, I might end up sneaking a look at the next chapter This is going to be a bit rushed because I'm not going to be at home for the rest of the week and I have loads to sort out but, before I forget what I wanted to say about it: The Brothers Grimm Selected Tales - Historically Interesting There is one thing I absolutely love this book for and that is, despite the saying, the cover. It's one of the penguin hardcover classics (bought for me by my wonderful sister who understands my love of pretty books ) which is a very dark pink embossed in gold with lovely quotes on the front and back. For the way it looks, I would absolutely recommend it for any shelf. As far as the content goes I was impressed with the variety of stories they included. As I said earlier in the thread there are 57 in total, including a few variations on the same concept. So, for example, there are at least 3 which are identifiable as the Cinderella story we all know, but with different twists. I thought that was really interesting. On the other hand, if you weren't looking at them as an interesting part of literary history, I'm not sure you'd want to read them just as good stories. For either adults or children. There is a lot of unnecessary violence, multiple moments that are clearly racist and sexual equality is just non existent. So if you're interested in the history of the fairy tale or Victorian literature then it's a really interesting read but, if not, probably avoid it. I went to Astley book farm yesterday and sold quite a few books, including some I haven't read yet! Part of me really didn't want to, I like to at least try everything on my shelf, but I decided it was stupid to clutter my shelves with books I was avoiding reading, and there are things coming up I could really do with saving some money for. I'll update my shelf list on here once I have this week out of the way! I also had a book voucher I hadn't used and I managed to find the next two Dresden Files books (Grave Peril and Summer Knight) as well as two Joe Abercrombie books I wanted (Best Served Cold and Red Country). I couldn't resist starting Grave Peril last night so that's my next read
  15. Yay an official UK publication date! 3rd November 2016, not long to wait now
  16. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    A Tale of Two Cities A Christmas Carol and a couple of the other Christmas books Oliver Twist Hard Times Dombey and Son Little Dorrit Great Expectations David Copperfield My favourite is probably David Copperfield, I think it has the best characters, and there's a good film of it too What did you think of Nicholas Nickleby? I've had it on my shelf for a while, I just never get round to reading it!
  17. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Thanks both of you, it's good to hear the next one is going to be good too, I'm particularly looking forward to the dodo hunt now! I've been thinking about my spoiler and I think maybe... I honestly think A Tale of Two Cities is the heaviest book by Dickens I've read! Even though it's a lot shorter than some of the others it seemed more dense and the writing was definitely not as light-hearted as it is in others. I suppose it was fitting though, when the subject was so sad. Which ones have you read already? I think I'm going to try The Old Curiosity Shop next
  18. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor - Crazy Historical Fun This book has that same fun madness that The Eyre Affair had, only this time it's with history as the subject, rather than literature. It's very fast paced, there's always something new happening, a new time period to explore or a new twist in the plot. This does add to the madness, but it fits. Like Madeleine said above, it's a good escapist read. I found it hard sometimes to really get some of the characters. It wasn't a big problem overall but sometimes it felt like they acted out of character. But anyway, it was a fun read and I'm looking forward to seeing what time periods they'll travel to in the next book I've started reading The Brothers Grimm Selected Tales that my sister bought for me. There are 57 stories in it but they're all obviously quite short so I should be able to review it soon
  19. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    Thanks Chesil, I've only read a few pages so far but I have high hopes for it That sounds like just what I want at the moment! A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - Emotional but slow moving I've heard a few times that this is Dickens' worst book and I have to say, it wasn't my favourite but it is still a good book. There are definitely times when it seems to be moving very slowly, far more than in any other Dickens book I've read. As it moves towards to second half of the book however the pace does pick up. I thought there were a couple of characters that fell a bit flat, although they had multiple appearances, I just didn't care about them, they didn't have any depth, but then there were others that absolutely balanced that out, making you really hate them or feel heartbroken for them. I've never read a book set during the French Revolution before and I really expected Dickens to completely take the view of the working class but there was an interesting balance in the suggestion of who is right and wrong. You can really see Dickens' belief in the importance of the individual as you feel your sympathy shifting from the starving man to the brutally murdered young woman who has done nothing personally but be born into the wrong class. It's definitely thought provoking, I liked that about it.
  20. No problem, I'm glad it was of some use . Do keep us updated on your progress, I hope you find it!
  21. Willoyd's Reading 2016

    Great mini reviews I'm glad to see your two highest rated are The Essex Serpent and The Wind in the Willows as both are on my "to read" list!
  22. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    I have a couple of updates because I've been on holiday. I'm still reading A Tale of Two Cities but since my copy of that book is a really pretty edition I was reluctant to bring it to the beach or out in the heat (I left a book out in the sun once and all the pages fell out - lesson learned!) so I read the other two books I had with me first while I was there. Which were: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany - Nostalgic I did enjoy reading this script but if I'm honest it was enjoyable for the novelty rather than the quality. I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was about 10 so I really grew up with them and I did love them. This play takes you back into that world, with all the familiar characters and for that reason it's fun to read. On the other hand the plot is really not very original, the behaviour of some of the characters feels a bit odd at times and it relies very VERY heavily on references to the previous books. One of my first thoughts when I put it down was, I can see why it wasn't written as a novel, it wouldn't have worked. Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield - If Ghosts were Memories This book was one of those that was nothing like I expected. For a start, I thought it was going to be a ghost story and it really isn't. From the blurb and the cover I understood that it was going to be a book about a boy who kills a rook, the opening of the first mourning emporium and ghosts. Based on this I expected it to be quite fast paced, maybe a little dark and scary but it's not that kind of book at all. When I was half way through and there was still no mention of a mourning emporium I started to get a bit annoyed with it. It seemed to just be the story of the life of a man who's very good at business. I think I was probably 3/4 of the way in before I realised I was reading it wrong. What this book actually is is quite a deeply metaphorical story about memory and how it defines us. I was actually going to give this book two stars on goodreads after I finished it but then I decided that would be harsh because, if I had known what kind of book it was and had been reading it without the expectation of something that was never going to happen, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. It's actually a very clever concept and well written. It merges so many themes together under the theme of memory; light, sound, colour, death, mythology. I would recommend reading it as a thought provoking book but not if you mind there being little action. September is going to be a fairly stressful work month so I'm just going to be squashing in reading whenever I can. I'm over half way through A Tale of Two Cities though so I'm hoping to finish that soon and then maybe start Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
  23. Athena's Reading List 2016

    I know I'm a bit late but I loved The Black Magician Trilogy and had no idea there was a prequel or that The Traitor Spy Trilogy was set in the same world (although I have seen them in shops I just assumed they were unrelated because they're a different trilogy!) I'm going to look at them now, thank you Athena I hope you enjoy your new books too!
  24. Hayley's 2016 Reading

    There was!? Clunky doesn't sound good but I'll have a look at it anyway I'm glad to hear there's a good mix in The Mistletoe Bride, I wasn't really expecting that, especially not humour! Wow I didn't know it was free on there! I hope you like it. I've never heard of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, I'll have to look it up
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